Three senior leaders leaving their mark on Jordan LacrosseMay 07, 2018 11:57AM ● By Ron Bevan
Jordan forward Olivia Davis looks for a passing lane during a recent lacrosse game. (Ron Bevan/City Journals)
The Jordan girls lacrosse team relied on one main player last season. That player, Paige Williams, was one of the best lacrosse players in the entire state. She led the Beetdiggers in scoring and returns this season to try to push the team into state contention.
Williams is making a difference on the team as a senior. Not in her scoring prowess, but her understanding of the game and a change in philosophy.
“Last year she was our highest scorer,” Jordan coach Niki Ballou said. “She had to carry the team and she took on that responsibility. This year the team has stepped up and she has taken on a different role.”
Instead of leading the team in scoring, Williams now leads with assists. She uses her knowledge of the game to find the open teammate that leads to a scoring opportunity.
“She decided to make the choice to not score as much and help the team out,” Ballou said. “Now anyone on our attack can score and she finds the right person to receive her pass.”
Offense wasn’t in Williams’ wheelhouse when she began her career at Jordan. She was a defender, and good enough to earn All-Conference Best Defender honors.
“She is so fast that I felt she would be more lethal in our midfield, where she could still defend but also help score,” Ballou said. “I have no doubt she is going to make it big in the sport. She is a Division 1 college caliber player.”
Williams is bookmarked with two other seniors that are helping mold this year’s Beetdigger squad. Emme Laro and Gretchen Hyer are also making the final season appearances in a Jordan uniform. Laro plays in the center position while Hyer is primarily a defender.
“Laro is the hardest worker on the team even though she is a very good player already,” Ballou said. “Usually the really good players put on an air of not needing to try as hard. Laro is always trying harder and wanting to improve her game.”
Hyer is a multi-sport athlete who also represented Jordan on the swimming team. Ballou believes it is Hyer’s swimming that gives her an edge on the lacrosse field.
“She is a positive vibe for our team,” Ballou said. “She has so much energy. Usually when I pull a player off the field it is because they are beginning to show signs of fatigue and needing a rest. I don’t think I have ever pulled her off the field. She is an anomaly. I can play her anywhere, but her defense is just so pretty.”
Stepping into one of the leading scoring positions this season is junior Maya Thayne, a tough-nosed, daredevil of a player that mixes it up inside so much she is one of the few players now wearing a helmet.
“Her goal accuracy is amazing,” Ballou said. “She began the season making 16 of her first 18 shots. She is not afraid to go full force through all the sticks. It is both beautiful and terrifying to watch her play.”
Jordan’s defense is also solid
this season, with a corp of players that work so well together Ballou hates to
make substitutions. They are led by sophomore defender Megan Fernandez, who
shows her game intelligence even at a younger age.
“Fernandez understands the flow of the game and the attack she is against,” Ballou said. “She can really figure out how offenses try to break our defense and she can help our defense recover quickly.”
Behind the defense as the last stop is goaltender Kimi Rasmussen, a sophomore with the mental toughness needed to man the net.
“I haven’t met a goalie liker her,” Ballou said. “Being a goalie is mentally tough. It is hard to focus after someone scores on you. But she doesn’t seem like she will ever have a breakdown. She keeps playing the game her way.”