The Riverview Rams (12-6) Varsity Girls defeated the Manatee Hurricanes (10-4) in the Ram Bowl, 11-7, and earned their first District Championship. Coaching her 7th season for the Varsity Girls, Riverview’s head coach Ashley McLeod knew the 2022 team had the talent to compete for a District Championship, but it would come down to a group of young underclassmen working with the upperclassmen that know how much grit and determination is needed in the playoffs, to win their first District Championship. Well, the team did just that.
Going into the game, Riverview had already lost their previous matchup of the season to Manatee, 16-11, back on March 29th, in Bradenton. The Hurricanes’ Junior Penelope May scored 6 goals in that game, and the Rams would need to find a defensive solution to minimize her offensive skills. At the same time, Riverview’s Sophomore scoring leader, Susan Lowther, had 6 goals, as well in that game. It was undoubtable, Manatee would take the same approach and try to solve their “Lowther” problem. Another problem Riverview would need to learn from the previous loss was controlling possession at the draw. In their earlier loss, Riverview only controlled 53% of the draws at the circle, enabling Manatee to have a nearly equal amount of possessions. In the Championship game, it was a different story. With Lowther taking nearly every draw, the Rams controlled 80% of the possessions at the circle, a huge difference maker when teams are evenly matched.
Less than 7 minutes into the game, Manatee jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, and it appeared by the player celebrations on the sidelines, and the cheers from the Manatee fans in the stands, the Hurricanes were poised to post another win. That’s when Coach McLeod called a timeout to refocus the team, especially her defensive unit. And it worked, Riverview scored the next two goals, and by the end of the first half, with goals by 4-year, Varsity Senior, Clara Keyvani and freshmen Caroline Steinwachs, Riverview was up 5-4. Like their entire season, the success of the offense, would be contingent on the grit and determination of the defense. The passion from the fans in the Ram Bowl was at its highest level of the season, as well.
As a Sophomore, Lowther came into the game tied for the most career “Points” in school history. She already held the record for most goals, with 101, but it would be the other side of a “Point” that would help Riverview achieve their first District Championship, and that was the “Assist.” Manatee knew Riverview would try to take away their leading scorer, May, so the Hurricanes would do the same to Lowther. Double and triple-teams would be placed on Lowther whenever she touched the ball. But Lowther has been playing lacrosse since the third grade, when she started with the Sarasota Seahawks. If there is one thing every experienced competitor knows, if they are double and triple-teaming them, it means there is another teammate that is uncovered. And that is exactly what Lowther did, she found an open Caroline Steinwachs on every one of Steinwachs 5 goals. Steinwachs only took six shots the entire game; she scored on five of them; all assisted by Lowther. That is the epitome of teamwork in action.
At the same, Riverview was able to establish a defensive scheme that minimized May from having the open shots she was able to get in the Hurricanes’ previous win, limiting her to only 2 goals in the Championship. Goals by Junior Emily Hazlett and Senior Chloe Jarman mid-way through the second half provided some extra breathing room for the Rams, and took the pressure off Lowther and Steinwachs. And finally, there is one person in the game of lacrosse the stands alone on an island, and that’s the goalie. Riverview’s Junior goalie, Mia Rey had a sensational night between the pipes, saving 12 crucial shots in the Rams win, reaching a career milestone of 311 saves. Congratulations to the 2022 Varsity Girls Lacrosse team on their first District Championship. Well done!
NOTABLES: Midfielder Caroline Steinwachs‘ five goals extended her record for the most points (53) and goals (46) for a Freshmen in a single season for Riverview’s program.
|April 13, 2022||7:30 PM||Girls Varsity||2022|
|Position||Goals||Assists||SoG||Faceoffs||FO Wins||Ground Balls||Take Aways||Penalties||Saves||Goals Allowed|
Riverview Rams Girls Varsity
|#||Player||Position||Goals||Assists||SoG||Faceoffs||FO Wins||Ground Balls||Take Aways||Penalties||Saves||Goals Allowed|
|14||Von Arb, Julia||Defense||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|