As one of the nation's fastest growing sports, lacrosse is already quite popular at Zionsville Community High School. The girls program is on the forefront of that expansion movement and the Lady Eagles are already on their way to a solid 2010 season. The Eagles were 15-3 a season ago and have already notched the program's first ever win over Park Tudor by a 10-7 margin victory last season.
“We are trying to build on our success from last year,” said girls coach Leslie Sherman. “We have some new players who have emerged as leaders on the lax field and experienced players who have worked hard in the offseason to improve on their skills. Our goal is to be in the final four and have the opportunity to win the state championship. We have four returning all-state and all-tournament players. This is our tenth season as team and we have been in the final four seven of those years.”
Culver Academy was last year’s girls state champion, but the Eagles were a final four team along with Park Tudor and Noblesville. Culver Academy appears on Zionsville's schedule in the final game of the regular season. The Eagles are already ranked No. 8 in the state according to laxpower.com.
Senior midfielder Molly Mildenburg returns this season after being named as an honorable mention All-American last season by lazpower.com. She is expected to be a leader of a team that has a lot of talent and high hopes for the year.
“Some strengths are experience, leadership, athleticism, and overall great team chemistry,” Sherman said. “We have a returning second-team All-American, three all-state players, a second-team all-state player, and three all-tournament players. We also have three academic All-Americans retuning to our squad. This team plays to win.”
Claire Edelman and Mildenburg were also named academic All-American last season, giving the Eagles experienced senior leadership. Those leaders will work to meld with a few newcomers that Sherman expects to contribute immediately.
“We have two goalies this season who should make an immediate impact — China Reynolds and Eliana Haislup,” Sherman said. “Both were on the team last year but did not start. We also have several second year varsity players who have game experience under their belts and should help lead our team as well.”
As a non-sanctioned IHSAA sport, the Eagles face some struggles in a playing a sport that is still growing, but they are struggles that Sherman expects to overcome.
The IHSAA is the only high school sports governing body in the country that does not have an emerging sport category, but the Indiana High School Women's Lacrosse Association still works closely with the IHSAA.
Zionsville also must face the problem of no home field this season. While the program waits for the new football stadium to be finished, the girls will play at Mulberry Fields in Zionsville. That allows for only four home matches on the season. The Eagles dropped a pair of games against quality Kentucky schools on March 23, but against Indiana teams they are 1-0 with a win over Park Tudor.
Zionsville’s first home match at Mulberry Fields is on April 13 against Brebeuf. The Eagles also face top 10 teams in Heritage Christian, Chatard, South Bend St. Joseph's, and Center Grove this year.
“Lacrosse is growing nationally and certainly here in Zionsville. We are very proud of our success on and off of the field,” Sherman said. “I see our relationship with ZCS becoming stronger. ZCS is one of the most supportive public school systems in the state. We serve as leaders and role models for other programs becoming established. This helps other schools see it can be done and how to do it.”