By Julie Deacon
The Western Albemarle girls lacrosse program has had an outstanding season as the only school in Virginia to have both the varsity and junior varsity girls’ teams undefeated in the regular season. The women’s teams ended their regular seasons with 12-0 records and are continuing to work hard in the postseason.
In the regular season, juniors Reeve Goldstein and Maggie Craytor led the team in scoring and goals scored, respectively. Freshman Annie Alhusen was integral against some of Western’s toughest opponents, scoring the game winner against Albemarle with only sixteen seconds remaining in the game. Sophomore Caroline Grist was a consistent asset on attack and fellow sophomore Taylor Florin was influential in maintaining the team record, scoring the winning goal in overtime against Rockbridge.
In the midfield, junior Katie Alhusen and sophomore McLean Stokes led the team in draw controls. Junior Juliana Murphy and sophomore Genevieve Hathaway were consistent and hardworking players, both providing hustle and determination in the midfield and on defense. Defensive player Jean Nika van der Westhuizen started out the season with a concussion but came back strong to anchor the team.
Throughout the season, the senior players demonstrated tremendous leadership. Annie McGahren and Grace Shook anchored the team as defensive players. Percy Mascotte and Kaki Harris were outstanding on attack, and Kennedy Buntrock was a force to be reckoned with as goalie. While Buntrock was trying out for the U21 England team over Western’s spring break, freshman Maizey McCarthy stepped up in goal and demonstrated tremendous determination during the Rockbridge and Patrick Henry games.
Head coach Peggy Williams and assistant coach Jordan Dudley demonstrated outstanding leadership and were integral to the success of the teams both on and off the field. In her first season coaching the Western girls program, Williams was a tremendous leader. She played lacrosse at the University of Virginia, is in both the Baltimore and Virginia Hall of Fame Chapters for United States Lacrosse and was awarded the NCAA Woman of the Year in 1998 for her academic, athletic, and leadership accomplishments, among other accolades. She has experience coaching from the youth to the collegiate level, and has loved being a part of the Western girls program this season.
“The energy and spirit has been amazing all season,” Williams said. “They work together, trust each other, and in any given game, any player can be the one who makes the big play. I am very proud of how they play the game of lacrosse but most proud of the people that they are.”
Williams is particularly proud of how every player worked to be a part of the team and aimed at victory, whether they were a starting player or a sub. She cited many outstanding games, particularly the overtime win at Rockbridge and their come-from-behind win against Albemarle.
Senior goalkeeper Buntrock says of Williams, “Peggy Williams is outstanding. She not only works to push us as players, but she pushes us as people. I think I speak for all the seniors when I say we wish we could train with her for longer.”
The varsity team continues to work hard in the postseason, with their sights set on the state championship in June.