The Zionsville girls lacrosse team has gotten off to a great start this year, winning five of their first six games.
A couple of key reasons for that success, have earned the opportunity to play at the next level.
Zionsville seniors Kaija Kunttu (Akron), Abbie Nutter (Hope) and Molly Rainey (Hope) had a signing ceremony Wednesday at the school.
Kunttu said that Akron was the right fit for her.
"I can't wait to start the next chapter of lacrosse for me," she said. "I wanted to go to a bigger school, and Akron was a bigger school than so of the other schools I was looking at. The coach was awesome, and I met some of the girls on the team and they were super cool. It just felt like home there."
Kunttu has scored 12 goals and has five assists for far this season.
That is coming off a season in which she had 59 goals and 15 assists. She said Akron head coach Christy Mitchell liked her playing style.
"She likes how hard-working I was and how I wouldn't give up," Kunttu said. "She liked my passion for the game and is excited for me to be in their midfield next year."
Nutter and Rainey will be heading to Hope, where they will join a program that is 10-2 so far this season under head coach Kim Vincent.
The Flying Dutch are in their seventh-year as a program, and have continued to get better every season.
Both girls said they felt like Hope was a perfect fit for them.
"I am really excited to make it official and I feel like I have accomplished something I have always wanted," Nutter said. "It really is a dream come true. I really liked the small campus feel and the girls on the team were really friendly and a close-knit group."
Rainey said she was excited to make it official and become a member of the Flying Dutch.
"It feels a little different now that it is official," Rainey said. "Now I am officially signed, I'm ready to go and I'm really excited. The environment of the school and the people stood out. Every time I went on a visit, people were always holding doors and saying 'hi' and they were really excited to see you. It was a good feeling."
Both Nutter and Rainey said one thing they are also looking forward to is getting to play with each other for the next four years.
"I am so excited for that," Nutter said. "(Molly) is one of my best friends, and she really encourages me a lot."
Rainey said that having Nutter with her will make it easier to adjust to life at Hope.
"I am super excited for that, it is going to be so much fun," Rainey said. "I think it is going to make the transition to college a little bit easier for us."
When looking back at their time at Zionsville, all three said they will have fond memories of their time representing the Eagles.
"I will definitely remember my teammates, because they all became my best friends really fast," Nutter said. "I know we will all stay close."
Kunttu said that one of the things she is proud of is how much the team has grown together throughout her career.
"I will remember my teammates and how much we have grown together," Kunttu said. "Hanging out with the girls and the coaches, and all the fun practices and games where worked the hardest. I will remember the really high points and the really low points and how we grew as a team through them."
Rainey said that one of the things that has made Zionsville lacrosse special is how close the entire program is, from the youth teams in ZLax through the high school.
"The whole Zionsville lacrosse system is such a great community," Rainey said. "To go from being little kids in the program, to my signing day, I am just going to miss everyone a lot and how close we were as a community."
But while they took some time to reflect on the careers, they know there is still work to do in their senior years.
All three said they have high hopes for what this group can accomplish.
"State is always the goal," Rainey said. "I just want to get close with all the girls and I want to see us all grow and prosper in all the little things we have to improve on."
Kunttu said that they have gotten off to a good start this year, but they have to make sure they finish the season well as well.
Last year, the Eagles dropped three of their final five games.
"I want to finish strong this season," Kunttu said. "I want to make sure we finish every game the way we start them. If we do that, we will have a good season."
Kunttu and Rainey both plan on studying nursing in college, while Nutter will study elementary education.