“Green! Grit!” Huddled in a circle with their arms around around each other, the Hockaday varsity lacrosse team yell in celebration. They had just won the North District Title 19-12 after a hard-won game against The Episcopal School of Dallas on April 22.
The following weekend during the Southwest Preparatory Conference from April 28-29, the team reached the championship game after beating Episcopal High School of Houston and St. John’s School. During the title game, the team lost to ESD and placed second in the state, making this year’s lacrosse season stand out from years past.
From the North District Title, the team advanced onto the State Championships, which took place on May 6 and 7 at Lamar High School in Houston. The team had not attended State since 2014, so for Molly Ford, head varsity lacrosse head coach, this was one of the most memorable experiences of the season.
“Our North District title placed us in the number one seed at State, which was awesome,” Ford said. “There hasn’t been a North team that has been the number one team in State in a long time.”
Ford believes that the unity of the team was crucial to their performance this season.
“This is my first year coaching,” Ford said. “The seniors really brought the unity to the team, and leadership starts from the top. We introduced a lot of new concepts this year. Everyone worked as a team and played hard.”
In fact, this season, the team’s theme was “grit.” The athletes along with the coaches came up with the slogan at the beginning of the season and have embraced the theme ever since. They even created the hashtag “#greengrit” and purchased shooting shirts with “grit” spelled across the back. During the game against St. Stephen’s at the State competition, which Ford calls the most memorable game of the season, the team especially played to their theme.
“We tied in backup, scored another goal and stalled the ball to end it,” Ford said. “That was the biggest game we had all season. We really gritted out that game and took the win to get into the championship game.”
According to junior and varsity lacrosse player Genny Wood, the team’s results were a great improvement from last year’s records.
“In contrast to last season, we didn’t make the State tournament, we got fourth in SPC and never beat our rival ESD,” Wood said. “This season, however, was filled with such great wins and overall team unity.”
To senior and the State Tournament’s most valuable player Molly Mahowald, Ford, as well as Anthony Porchetta, assistant lacrosse coach, were extremely valuable to the team’s success this year.
“The coaches were so intense and always believed in us, and they believed we were the best team in Texas,” Mahowald said. “When you have the support of coaches like that, it makes the season so much more fun.”
Also leading the varsity lacrosse team this year were six seniors: Kate Love, Emily Stallings, Isabel Smith, Lauren McDaniel, Melanie Kerber and Mahowald. While they kept the team focused and driven, the seniors also made sure that the team dynamic was fun and lively, whether it was messing around with the coaches or leading team chants.
“We have a lot of people on the team that love to mess around, but at the same time, we knew when to mess around but when to get focused,” Love said. “It wasn’t all serious 24/7, but it kept the team atmosphere so much fun.”
To prepare for game time, the team held a few traditions, like singing on the bus and writing letters to other team members.
“Even from the beginning of the season, we had a very strong vision of what we wanted the season to be like,” Wood said. “The focus on teamwork over individual talent was the best part of the entire season.”
Elizabeth Guo – Managing Editor
Aurelia Han – Editor-in-Chief