*Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a 12-part series previewing Davis High’s spring sports.
Stand perfectly still.
Feel that? The ground shaking?
It’s not an earthquake. It’s the thunder that Davis High brings during girls lacrosse matches.
Coming off a season in which the Blue Devils were one of only eight squads left standing in the North Coast Section playoffs, DHS returns 15 players from that 17-5 team.
And an offense that averaged 15 goals a game should only get better, according to veteran DHS coach Jenn Morris.
“If there’s going to be a good year, it’s this year — not that last year wasn’t good,” says the Devil mentor.
Attackers and midfielders were often interchangeable parts for Davis in 2012, and with a quartet of four-year performers in the fold, it’s no wonder local lacrosse fans are bursting with excitement this spring.
Leading scorer Kylie Drexel — whose 88 goals made her last season’s offensive player of the year in the Bay Shore Athletic League — will return to the fray once her Lady Blue Devil basketball playoff run ends. Drexel, who will attend USC on a lacrosse scholarship, is a three-sport standout (field hockey also is on her résumé).
Middies Monica Berry and Ceci Cajandig have joined Drexel in Morris’ starting lineup these past four seasons, as has the team’s No. 2 scorer Kelly Chuck (52 goals in 2012).
But the reigning BSAL champs’ embarrassment of riches doesn’t stop there …
Catherine (Kiki) Tanaka — bound for St. Mary’s upon graduation — joins Maya Polis and Lani Chang down low. Lucy Hass, Lydia Gegan, Sarah Bloise and Christina Son also are expected to keep relentless pressure on opposing goalies.
“We didn’t lose anyone from the attack or midfield … and a lot of our girls play both positions,” Morris told The Enterprise.
With Drexel, Son, Cajandig and Berry in the middle, Morris is able to rotate in Chuck and other teammates from the attack zone and bench, keeping the Devils fresh. Morris believes that versatility confuses foes, not letting them get used to certain looks.
On defense, an area on which the coach says she’s shined a brighter light, DHS has top stopper Natalie Serdahl and veteran junior Elizabeth Leshuk returning. Monica Leflore again will be a welcome face in the mix and Bailey Gary moves from track-and-field to lacrosse as another defender.
Gary, a four-sport wizard (soccer and tennis are also part of her background), brings mind-numbing speed to the back line, something Morris thinks will be a benefit to Davis.
In goal, second-year varsity keeper Ally Weir trades in her field hockey gear. Newcomer Chelsea Nickell is expected to share duties in front of the net.
“I like playing them equal amounts of time,” Morris says of her two juniors. “It gives different things for (opposing) shooters to look at.”
The Blue Devils have 13 seniors, seven juniors and a sophomore (Bloise) in the fold, as well as a new league in which to toil.
The BSAL lost its lacrosse teams to realignment, so the Davis girls come back to the region to play in the Sacramento Valley Lacrosse League.
In a conference made up of Oak Ridge, St. Francis, Granite Bay, Bella Vista and the Devils, each team will play the others twice. However, unlike the BSAL, there is no postseason league tournament.
However, the North Coast Section will accept the Sacramento league winner for the playoffs.
To get her girls battle-ready for the postseason, should they win another conference crown, Morris scheduled Bay Area powers California and St. Ignatius for the final two games of the regular season.
Along the way, DHS will play Monte Vista, Acalanes, Novato, Berkeley and Burlingame in other nonleague tests.
With nine home games on the schedule, the Blue Devils open the season at Las Lomas on March 5. This weekend, a multiteam play day is planned at DHS as a sort of shakedown cruise. Morris says she’ll know more after Saturday about what needs to be tweaked before her girls put on their helmets in earnest.
With all that returning firepower and a new emphasis on defense, one suspects that Davis’ preparation for the playoffs begins now.
Notes: The Blue Devils lost in the 2012 NCS quarterfinals to Monte Vista (15-12). The two squads are set for a March 12 rematch at Ron & Mary Brown Stadium (7 p.m.). … Only defender Kelsey Ewing and goalie Dom Lowell left DHS via graduation. … The Devils’ 323 goals last season were a school record, but so were the 224 allowed. … Davis opens SVLL play March 19 when Oak Ridge comes to town.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-747-8047.