Redondo Union girls stick it to opponents in hunt for Bay League lacrosse title
Redondo Union’s girls lacrosse team is off and running in its quest for a sixth straight Bay League title, but Sea Hawk Head Coach Tom Borgia admits his program is not yet on a CIF championship level.
Redondo is ranked No. 10 in the Southern Section, but is only one of two Los Angeles County teams in the top ten and one of only nine in the top 30.
“I’d like to say we are catching up to Orange County but it will take a few years,” Borgia said. “I am not sure of the percentage, but many more high schools have lacrosse in OC and I am not sure with school budgets these days how many schools in LA can add a lacrosse program. Just in the South Bay area, none of the four Torrance high schools have teams, no teams at Bishop, San Pedro, Carson, etc.”
Borgia said that lacrosse is growing more in the San Fernando Valley because of the exposure to the sport girls are receiving at a younger age.
“The big problem in LA is that girls lacrosse does not have a big feeder programs in LA like they do in OC,” Borgia explained. “They start playing in 2nd grade in OC. There are only three girls teams in the Adrenaline League, which plays at Campus El Segundo, while there are 40 boys teams.”
Borgia started a middle school girls team last year to play in the Adrenaline League, giving the girls a chance to start playing earlier than high school. He had 19 girls the inaugural season but quickly filled his roster of 25 players this season. Borgia hopes to field two teams next year.
“When I started coaching the girls team at Redondo in 2009, we never had a freshman who had played lacrosse before,” Borgia said. “This year, half of our JV team played on my middle school team last year.”
Redondo Union High School offers a five-week summer camp for all of its athletic teams giving incoming freshman a chance to play a sport to see if they want to try it at the high school level.
In the off-season, Redondo
“At Redondo we have an off season program that the girls have lacrosse class for five hours a week in which they earn PE credit,” Borgia said. “That way, they get 100 hours of lacrosse training before most other high school teams even start practicing.”
Borgia said almost one-third of his girls play for the LA Wave, a fast-growing local club team that plays during the summer and fall offering programs for middle school, high school and elite high school girls.
Ranked 53rd nationally, the Sea Hawks began their season with a 4-2 non-league with both losses coming against quality opponents.
“Although we lost three really good seniors from last year, we are better this year,” Borgia said. “We started five sophomores last year so we aren’t as young and inexperienced as last year.”
After routing La Canada 23-3 in the season opener, Redondo held off No. 16 Agoura 10-9, beat No. 20 Chaminade College Prep 10-4 and defeated No. 27 Dana Hills 10-7.
Redondo fell to No. 6 Trabuco Hills 8-4 and was shutout 15-0 by the nation’s No. 9 team at the time, St. John’s, TX. The Sea Hawks rebounded to defeated No. 29 Peninsula 10-5, Palos Verdes 14-5 and handed No. 24 El Segundo its first loss of the season with 13-3 home victory to open Bay League competition.
“St John’s was definitely one of the best teams we have ever played, along with Los Alamitos, who beat us twice for the CIF Championship,” Borgia said. “The coach at St. John’s has been there 17 years while we have had a team for eight years. They are a private school that has won something like five state titles and 12 regional titles since that coach has been there.”
Two day after defeating Redondo, St. John’s lost to Los Alamitos (No. 2 in the Southern Section) by three goals.
Borgia feels the Sea Hawk offense is the strength of his team even though the entire defense returns. Leading the attack is junior captain and three-year varsity starter Maddie Farmer, senior captain Caitie Lowkeen and senior Jessica Veliz.
Sophomore newcomer Allison Shamir is expected to be a force at both ends of the field combining impressive stick skills with a strong shooting game.
“Farmer and Shamir are strong and fast with hard and accurate shots,” Borgia explained. “Both have been playing for club teams in the off season which has really improved their games.”
Junior Alison Kobel returns to attack with a powerful shot after missing last year with injuries. Allie Tsuji, Redondo’s fastest player helps the transition game on offense and junior midfielder Kayla Manuum has impressed Borgia with her stick skills.
Senior captain Kelsie Currie leads the Sea Hawk defense along with juniors Paige Hansen and Eris Heim.
“Junior Haylie Thatcher is a game changer as our defensive midfielder,” Borgia said. “She is fast and tough with a great lacrosse IQ. She is the start of our transition game from defense to offense.”
Borgia is excited about his bench that features a group of speedy sophomores including Allie and Hailey Vorndran.
Goalkeeper Rachel Payne brings an impressive resume after starting more than 40 junior varsity games with only two losses.
The Bay League has been reshaped this year with the three weakest teams moving to a new Ocean League. El Segundo joins Redondo, Mira Costa, Palos Verdes and Peninsula in a much tougher Bay League.
“We have been working hard since September on our stick skills, defense and transition game and we plan to run an up-tempo game,” Borgia said. “I think our speed will be tough for some teams to keep up with.”
Redondo hosts rival Mira Costa on Wednesday, April 16 at 5:30 p.m. followed by a road game at Peninsula on Friday, April 18 at 4 p.m.
Mira Costa is ranked No. 28 and opened its season with a 16-9 win against Beverly Hills but ran into trouble against four top-25 teams.
Fifth-ranked Oak Park defeated the Mustangs 16-9 before Mira Costa gave No. 23 Laguna Hills all it could handle in an 11-10 loss. Trabuco Hills ran by the Mustangs 13-1 before Mira Costa lost a 12-11 heartbreaker to No. 20 El Toro.
The Mustangs regained their winning ways with a 14-5 win at Birmingham Charter before losing to visiting El Segundo 14-13 in double overtime.
Mira Costa will host Palos Verdes Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m. After their game at Redondo, the Mustangs will travel to El Segundo on Friday, April 18 for a 3 p.m. contest.