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Falcons Swarm like Sharks to Beat the Riptides 10-4

  • Written by Derek Johnson
Things didn’t get off to a good start for the Falcons last Tuesday night at Woodinville High School. Just minutes into their match against Peninsula, they fell behind 3-1. Woodinville coach Courtney Bird called time out.
“We just didn’t come out with the fire we needed,” Bird said. “After that timeout we regrouped and regained some momentum, and we went after the 50/50 balls -- which was a game changer.”
 
From that point forward, Woodinville battened down the hatches on defense. Goalie Jada Brandon grew stingy and tough at the net. At the same time, the Falcon offense went on a scoring flurry. Jessi Daneman’s sink shot with 11:30 left in the first half gave Woodinville a 5-3 lead. Late in the first half, Claire Prentice scored a goal to put the Lady Falcons up 8-3 heading into intermission.
 
DSC 4980Woodinville coach Courtney Bird (center) played lacrosse at Princeton. (Photo by Derek Johnson)
Then with 3:52 left in the match, Daneman struck again with the coup de grace goal that gave Woodinville the 10-4 victory.
 
A big key to the victory was ferocious defense played by the Falcons. In basketball terms, it was the equivalent of a full court press. There were times when a Peninsula player with the ball would get pinned along the sideline. Three or four Falcon players would swarm about her with sticks flailing in the air to obscure her vision downfield. It hampered the Riptides’ offense. One could almost envision chum-filled choppy waters and circling fins.  
 
“One thing I really emphasize is our redefend,” Bird said. “…Pushing up and making sure that all of our attackers are involved. Getting to those sideline balls, pushing into double and triple teams on the sideline. Just making sure that we’re swarming. Because if we’re swarming then [the opponent] can’t see. Sometimes it works, and sometimes they throw the ball over your head.”
 
GENESIS OF A NEW PROGRAM
 
This is Woodinville’s inaugural varsity season as a member of the Washington State Girls Lacrosse League. It’s also the first year as an official ASB Varsity Club at Woodinville High School. Courtney Bird was tabbed as the team’s Varsity Head Coach and Program Director. Angela Stone, a teacher at Woodinville, serves as the assistant coach.
 
Bird grew up in New Jersey and played lacrosse for Princeton University. While working in New York she coached a lacrosse team on the side. Four years ago, she moved to Montana and helped start a girls lacrosse program. “I was coaching girls who had never played before, so it was a big adventure!” she said. “And now it’s good to be out here [in Woodinville]. I feel like there are a lot of girls who have never played, and girls who have a decade of experience under their belt. So you get both ends of the whole spectrum which is a unique situation.
 
“The Pacific Northwest has so much talent and athleticism,” she added. “So it’s nice to be a part of bringing the sport up. It’s exciting that the team is growing.”

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