District 25 is comprised of four teams: Coral Shores (Tavernier), Miami Killian (Kendall), Miami Palmetto (Pinecrest) and Palmer Trinity (Palmetto Bay). This reconstitutes the prior IA district from three years ago. FHSAA Independent Coral Reef (a new girls program) will likely join this district in 2013 to match the alignment of Boys District 30.
History: When Palmer Trinity joined FHSAA as an independent in 2010, the other three teams remained club and Coral Shores won the district title in 2010 and 2011, going to the IA state final four in 2011. Previously, Palmer Trinity had won the district title in 2008 and 2009, and finished 2nd and 3rd in IA state final four those years.
Teams to beat: No surprise, the coaches feel that Coral Shores and Palmer Trinity are the teams to beat. Miami Killian and Miami Palmetto are arch-rivals and their games are always spirited – while Miami Palmetto beat Miami Killian twice in the regular season by two points each time, Miami Killian beat Miami Palmetto in the District semi-final by one point. All four teams are well into the throws of conditioning and have had players doing their homework at fall ball and on the club tournament circuit – the level of play should continue to rise dramatically in this district.
Coaches: Megan Sterritt and Mark Hall return at the helms of Miami Killian and Coral Shores respectively; whereas, Kristen Avvento and Catie Franklin will be taking over the reigns at Palmer Trinity and Miami Palmetto respectively. Mark Hall is the most seasoned coach in the district, having coached the Lady Canes since their inception. Last year was Coach Sterritt’s first season at Miami Killian – she brought her Maryland lacrosse work ethic, and her experience from being 4-year player, captain and then coach of the University of Miami Women’s Club team. Kristen Avvento has taken a similar path to South Florida Lacrosse as player/captain/coach of the University of Miami Women’s Club, after high school lacrosse in New York. Coach Avvento was previously the Girls Middle School Lacrosse Coach at Palmer Trinity and is taking over from Coaches Meridith Roy McGlynn and Robert McGlynn. Coach Avvento says “they built up this program to what it is today, and I look forward to carrying on what they started.” Catie Franklin takes over after Bri Pottinger at Miami Palmetto – Franklin was a player for Palmer Trinity during those strong IA showings several years ago and she is ready to bring that same level of intensity to Miami Palmetto. She says of her team’s preseason work: “the Palmetto girls show promising dedication and commitment … we’ll be a contender in the district.”
Players to Watch:
Coral Shores: Jenn Doyle (Attack, 2012 committed St. Leo, LaxManix), Julia Lozano (A-Wing, 2013, LaxManiax) and Cami Lopez (Defense, 2012, Barefoot Lacrosse) are the anchors of this team. Doyle and Lozano combined for 90 goals last season. Lopez is a threat on the offensive side as well; Miami Palmetto’s Franklin says, “Cami’s a very physical defender that likes to run up field.”
Image: Julia Lozano #45 (green/white)
Miami-Killian: Abby Castro (2012, BDM LAX) is a seasoned center/midfielder; Morgan McDougald (2012, BDM LAX) will be strong in goal, Nicholle Galletti (2013, LaxManiax) is a high level midfielder with solid stick skills, Danielle Horgan (2012) has real speed at midfield, Amanda Horgan (2014, BDM LAX) is a strong defender on the 8 meter.
Image: Michelle Lipton #38 (blue), Amanda Alvarez #42 (blue), Nicholle Galletti #11 (white), Abby Castro #6 (white)
Miami-Palmetto: Selina Pirkau (2012, Miami Mahi) will be strong in goal. Kaylee Scott-Pennington (2013, LaxManiax) is a strong midfielder with good stick handling skills. Michelle Lipton (2012, Miami Mahi) is strong low defender. Isabella Garcia (2012, Miami Mahi) is a fast and agile midfielder.
Image: Mary Ann Casas #6 (blue), Ana Casariego #3 (blue), Bug Franklin #30 (blue)
Palmer Trinity: Ten seniors and 5 LaxManiax club players (Bug Franklin – 2012, Mary Ann Casas – 2012, Ana Casariego – 2014, Carolina Casariego – 2014, Emily Franklin – 2015) make Palmer Trinity stacked with depth and starting talent. Bug Franklin is a signed early Div-1 recruit for Marquette and was mentioned first by each coach in the district when preparing this story. Says Coach Hall, “Margaret Franklin at Palmer will obviously be a problem for Coral Shores.” Besides those five, look for additional strong performances from senior midfielder Ellie Newman, senior goaltender Natalia Penton (BDM LAX), sophomore goaltender Galicia Rothe (BDM LAX) and freshman Camilla Masson (BDM LAX).
Big Games/Indicators of Success:
Coral Shores vs. Palmer Trinity and Miami-Killian vs. Miami-Palmetto are probably the most anticipated games in this district. Given the competitiveness of this district, an early loss may easily be avenged later in the season or at districts.
Coral Shores has a very strong schedule, starting with Pine Crest (Ft. Lauderdale). Says Coach Hall: “Pine Crest … will be a major challenge for us… If we play Pine Crest strong, I think we will have a lot of confidence going into the season. ” Coral Shores also plays St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Andrews, Jensen Beach and Cardinal Gibbons in out of district competition.
Miami-Killian will play Cypress Bay, Chaminade-Madonna, Jensen Beach, Cooper City, Western and St Thomas Aquinas out of district. The games against Cypress, Cooper City and Western will all be good indicators of relative top-to-bottom strength of District 25 versus Districts 22, 23 and 24. But Coach Sterritt has her eyes set on Palmer Trinity: “Our first game is on February 21st versus Palmer. As the toughest team in the district, it will set the precedent for the rest of the season.”
As new coaches, Avvento and Franklin will also be looking at early games as the best indicators of their teams’ seasons. Say Avvento, “To be quite honest, I like to have a game-by-game mentality, so right now the game that is circled on my calendar is game 1. I’m excited to just get the season started and approach each one as it comes. Each opponent is going to provide us with a unique challenge and it is important not to overlook it. ” Adds Franklin: “I do think that every game will be important, and will be focusing on every individual game as a learning experience and a way improve. I think all of the in-district games will be very competitive, based on what rivalries were 3-6 years ago.”
Miami-Palmetto is playing a short schedule with one late season out of district game against St. Thomas Aquinas.
Palmer Trinity will be testing itself against St Thomas Aquinas, Pine Crest, Wellington and Jensen Beach in out of district competition. These four will all be great games given the lacrosse community connections between players and coaches on these teams.
District Host School: Coral Shores, Tavernier, Florida.
Our pick: We believe the district will go to Coral Shores or Palmer Trinity. Coral Shores might have been stronger last year, but they are always deep; this will likely be the strongest Palmer team since 2009. We’ll be watching Miami-Killian and Miami-Palmetto’s progress to see if this district is heading toward being a toss-up in 2013.