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By René Ferrán

This week, SBLive Oregon will be highlighting several of the top girls lacrosse players in the state. Here is Part 1 of our list.

Our list was created based on nominations made by Oregon high school lacrosse coaches. All statistics are as of early May. 

Photo by Ben Ludeman 

M Gigi Abernethy, Fr., Jesuit

Abernethy has quickly made her mark with the Crusaders, ranking second on the team in goals (19), draw controls (20) and ground balls (eight), and third in assists with nine. “She is a force to be reckoned with and is just getting started,” coach Lauren Blumhardt said. 

M Olivia Allen, Jr., South Eugene

Allen is a recent Texas transplant from Humble Kingwood who does not like her new home’s cold, wet springs — she wears sweatpants at every game — but clearly likes playing for her new team. Her 38 goals rank fourth in the South Division, with a division-leading .776 shot percentage, and she leads the team with 51 draw controls won, 28 ground balls and 14 turnovers caused. She also ranks among the state leaders in the 300-meter hurdles. “Olivia is an exceedingly dedicated athlete with a bright future ahead of her,” Axe coach Sara Long said. “She fits right in on this team. Her playing style is effortless.”

A Kate Anders, Sr., Lake Oswego

Anders is one of the top all-around players in the Metro area, stuffing the stat sheet in a host of categories — she leads the team with 15 assists to go with her 25 goals (second-most), 16 ground balls won and eight turnovers forced. The George Mason signee also played two years for the Lakers basketball team, and lacrosse coach Lauren Anderson joked, “she should always be your first choice when playing pickup or intramurals.” About her play on the lacrosse field, Anderson added, “She’s a big voice for our team and always looking for ways to improve and challenge herself.” 

M Nikki Beers, Sr., West Albany

Beers played soccer and basketball growing up, but when one of her friends convinced her to come out for lacrosse, she was hooked. She became an all-Willamette Valley first-team selection as a junior, when she led the league in goals, ground balls won and draw controls. Her numbers aren’t as prolific this spring (19 goals, 28 ground balls won, 28 draw controls), as coach Monette LeMay often sits the Whitworth commit when the Bulldogs play a JV team or moves her from her natural position. She also is a percussionist on the school’s wind ensemble that won state her freshman year. “Nikki is the core of our team and an impact player in every game,” LeMay said. “As a middie, she is able to use her offensive and defensive knowledge to lead her teammates at each end of the field.”

D Brooke Bennett, Jr., Sunset

Apollos coach Alexandra Greiner called Bennett “our de facto defensive coordinator” for her ability to direct traffic and recover when the team loses possession — her 15 ground balls won rank among the team leaders. “She is small but mighty, often taking on the biggest, taller attacker and shutting them down,” Greiner said. “We can always count on her to hoover up ground balls and get it back to our attack.” 

D/M Jordyn Bennett, Jr., Bend

Bennett was her club team’s defensive player of the year last season, but she’s displayed her prowess in the attack for the Lava Bears this spring, leading the team with 37 goals (.698 shot percentage) and seven assists to go with 22 ground balls won and 21 draw controls.

M Braquelle Blanchard, Sr., Tualatin

Blanchard played a major role in the Timberwolves' 6-2 start this season, leading the Northwest Oregon Conference with 47 draw controls won to go with 24 goals (.632 shot percentage), 10 ground balls won and six assists. “Braquelle has been dominating the midfield this season and making different types of plays all over the field,” coach Lois Ray said. “She has been a crucial part of our success due to consistently making plays on both sides of the ball and during draws.” 

M Abby Bridger, Sr., Summit

Storm coach Dan Radatti marvels at Bridger’s boundless endurance, perhaps gained from her other passion — rock climbing all around Central Oregon with her parents and friends. She doggedly pursues loose balls, winning a team-high 49 ground balls (third-most in OGLA) and forcing a team-high 19 turnovers while scoring 10 goals and 11 assists. “Abby is a very driven and highly competitive player,” Radatti said. “Her endurance combined with her effort makes her a force on the field.”

G Greta Brown, Sr., Lake Oswego

Brown is set to join the Marine option NROTC program and major in electrical engineering in college, but in the meantime, she’s the quiet leader who helped the Lakers start 9-1. She played every second of those 10 games, posting a minuscule 5.90 goals against average (tops among goalies with a minimum of 300 minutes played) and .614 save percentage. “She always knows how to direct her defense and make critical decisions,” coach Lauren Anderson said. 

A Samantha Brown, Sr., Mountainside

Brown sat third among the state’s leaders in goals (58) and assists (21) as April closed with the Mavericks 12-0. Brown, who plans to play club lacrosse at Oregon next season, also added 28 ground balls won and 13 forced turnovers. “Sam is tenacious and finds unconventional ways to get the ball in the goal,” Mavericks coach Jason Lines said. “She found her love for lacrosse during her high school years.” 

M Alyson Buchholz, Sr., Lakeridge

Buchholz has developed into one of the Pacers’ stalwarts, ranking second on the team in goals (18) and ground balls won (18) while also winning 19 draw controls. Coach Danielle Kirby has worked with Buchholz since seventh grade, “and I am so proud of the player she has grown into,” Kirby said. “Her passion for the game and ability to step up as a leader have been an imperative part of our success so far this season.”

G Annika Byelick, So., Grant

Byelick had played every minute for the Generals as of early May, posting an 8-3 record with a .421 save percentage while allowing 9.36 goals per game. “Annika is a strong leader not just with her words but with her actions,” coach Yecenia Arrezola said. “She has been the glue to our defense.” 

A Cameron Cabuco, Jr., Sheldon

Cabuco leads the Irish attack with 56 goals — ranking among the OGLA leaders all season — 34 caused turnovers and 26 ground balls won. She also shares faceoff duties, winning 50 draw controls.

G Lily Campbell, Jr., West Linn

Campbell has grown into the starting role for the Lions this season, ranking fourth among OGLA goalies (minimum 350 minutes played) with a 7.10 goals against average. She had a .457 save percentage in starting the year 10-2. “Her skills and leadership are really shining this season,” coach Rebecka Wachtel said. 

M Sloane Chase, Jr., Sunset

Chase is a menace to opposing defenses, ranking sixth in the state with 48 goals (.593 shot percentage) and tied for eighth in draw controls won (47). She also leads the Apollos in ground balls won (26) and turnovers caused (14). “She will be face-guarded every game because she’s so good at weaving through defenders,” coach Alexandra Greiner said. “What most impresses me, though, is her poise under pressure.” 

M Ainsley Coates, Sr., Westview

Coates doesn’t put up the biggest numbers for the Wildcats, but she fills the stat sheet — 16 goals, 13 assists, 38 draw controls, 22 ground balls won and 16 forced turnovers — and does the little things that helped them get off to a 7-5 start. Her coach, Paje Stelling, said that Coates “has a heart of gold, a toe drag that will wreck most defenses, and a passion for this team and our game that won’t quit.” Coates has signed with Division II Seton Hill in Pennsylvania.

D Sara Coulsey, Sr., Oregon City

Cousley is a dual threat for the Pioneers, not only anchoring the defense with a team-high 25 ground balls won to rank among the Three Rivers leaders, but also chipping in five goals. “Sara is a strong and sturdy defender who is also a wicked attacker who knows how to move around the 12,” coach Monica Curtis said. “When she is gone, her absence is recognized.” 

M Kendall Coyne, Jr., Lakeridge

Coyne is the only girl in a family of seven, and she relished the opportunity to hone her skills playing against her lacrosse-playing brothers. In her first eight games this season, she led the Pacers in goals (21), ground balls won (32), forced turnovers (22) and draw controls won (34). “Kendall is a player that other teams don’t want to play against because of her versatility,” coach Danielle Kirby said. “Her skill as a midfielder in every area will help her find success as a player at the next level in college.” 

M Piper Daskalos, Jr., Jesuit

Daskalos is a Johns Hopkins commit who leads the Crusaders in scoring with 34 goals and 10 assists in her first eight games. “It is so fun to watch her play,” coach Lauren Blumhardt said. “You can tell how much she loves the sport and her teammates.”

A Ruby Duncan, Sr., Mountainside

Duncan’s role for the Mavericks volleyball team is to stop attacks as a libero and defensive specialist. Her role on the lacrosse field is much different — finding ways to put points on the board, which she’s done to the tune of 15 goals and 16 assists (second-most on the team) along with 25 ground balls won. “She has the ability to transition the ball up the field efficiently and has great field vision,” coach Jason Lines said. 

M Fiona Dunn, Jr., Wilsonville

Dunn does many of the little things that led to the Wildcats’ 7-5 start, leading the team in assists (17) and turnovers forced (30) while scoring 21 goals and winning 40 ground balls and 33 draw controls. “Fiona is one of the state’s most tenacious competitors who is our on-the-field coach,” said coach Mark Waddell. 

M Ellie Einstein, Jr., Cleveland

Einstein is a versatile midfielder who does a little of everything for the Warriors, scoring 11 goals, winning 25 draw controls and 18 ground balls, and forcing a team-high 14 turnovers.