Millbrook girls lacrosse coach Matthew Cope said he bought a copy of “Lacrosse for Dummies” when he was hired to start the Wildcats’ girls’ program seven seasons ago. He had never played the game, doubling in soccer and swimming as a high schooler.
“The ‘shooting space’ penalty was hard for me to grasp,” said Cope, who coaches JV boys’ soccer in the fall. “I just couldn’t imagine there was an American sport where you can’t stand in front of the goal. And figuring out how to coach girls was different. They just don’t respond to gruffness and yelling. They will respond to sternness but it has to be in different fashion.”
Junior midfielder Dana Florian, who had 26 goals and 15 assists through 13 games, said this is the best team Millbrook has had during her career. The Wildcats (9-5, 4-1) have clinched a fourth straight winning season.
“We’re doing really good this season,” said Florian, who added that she has been playing since fourth grade. “Our skills have gotten really good and I think we’re a lot more athletic. We’re moving the ball better than we ever have before and that’s a big accomplishment. And we’re closer as a team, so that’s nice. But we can’t come into games lazy. We have to be sharper with our stick skills and hustle the whole time.”
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Sophomore defender Elyssa Holman said the Wildcats need to have the kind of lock-down defense they had in their game at Leesville Road, where they led the Pride 7-4 with 21 minutes to play and scored the final nine goals.
Millbrook can finish second in the Cap-8 Conference with wins at Heritage on Friday and against Wakefield on April 28.
“We have done well defensively when we’ve hedged a side,” said Holman, who has been playing for three seasons after playing softball and competing in karate when she was younger. “I think our speed is pretty good this year. And we’re getting better finding the open girl a lot more and not just trying to drive, drive, drive. I think we have a chance to do well in the conference. But we haven’t played Wakefield or Broughton yet.”