The Mamaci girls club team took to the skies two weekends ago when they headed to Palm Springs, California for the annual Sandstorm Tournament. Mamaci had three teams at different levels representing Utah.
The Elite team, comprised of some of the best girls in the State, fared well, going 4-0 in pool play but losing in the semifinals to a tough Pacific Falcons team. The team started off the event with a 10-8 win over the West Coast Starz. Hours later, the team beat BearLax 13 by the score of 11-6. On Sunday, Mamaci beat XTEAM 13, 9-3 and closed out pool play with a 15-9 win over Triple Threat 13. The team was strong, fast and provided great physical competition.
“This year, the Elite team had an incredible experience at Sandstorm, competing at the highest level the tournament has to offer and garnering attention and recognition from coaches and teams from around the country,” said Mamaci Director Soni Bartlett. “Sand Storm is always a bittersweet experience for our players, as it marks the last time that all of these girls will be able to play together as a team before the seniors graduate. The girls truly embraced this final opportunity and played as a strong and complete team.”
Mamaci Coach Amy Hafets said, “We stressed to the players the importance of teamwork and trusting each other on the field. We wanted them to take risks and chances on the field to create positive plays, and the only way this is possible is when they trust that their teammate will be there to back them up.”
The girls played like a team against Triple Threat.
“In the game against Triple Threat, we were tied 7-7 at half,” said Bartlett. “The girls composed themselves during the one-minute half time, and refocused for the second half. Our girls made an impressive showing and a stellar defensive effort, which started with our attack players. The players immediately doubled the ball and pressured the clear. We were able to keep the ball on our offensive end, and we out scored our opponent 8-2 in the second half. Defensively, Sierra Schlag, Markie Wright, and Amy Johnston dominated creating turnovers under the leadership of our goalies Sasha McKee and Mikala Anderson. The win in this game propelled us to the semi-final game.”
“The team benefited this weekend by strong performances and leadership from several members from the senior class including Maddie Haynes, Morgan Judd, Annie Glenn, Caitlin Jarratt, Sierra Schlag, and Zoe Aldous,” said Bartlett. “There were also impressive and exciting contributions from our underclassmen giving promise to a bright future for Mamaci Lacrosse. Juniors Katie Adams, Amy Johnston, and Markie Wright hustled all over the field, playing with heart and intensity. Junior Sash McKee was a vocal leader for the group both on the field from the goal, and as the constant cheerleader for all of her teammates from the sideline. Although battling illness, Mikala Anderson did not show a chink in her armor as soon as she stepped on to the field, holding one team to a shut out in the second half (and nobody cheered louder for Mikala, then Sasha when this happened).”
One of the greatest compliments the team received over the weekend was the recognition and interest shown to them by college coaches around the country. In particular, a coach from NCAA D-I powerhouse Northwestern commented how impressed she was with the competitive play of the Utah players. She noticed the talent, athleticism, and quality of the players being produced in Utah.
The Mamaci Black squad also played well, winning 2 games and losing 2. The first game was won by one goal over the Patriots. Canada and the Mustangs beat Mamachi in the next two games but the girls didn’t give up, stealing a 9-8 win from the Chicago Wind.
“Kyndall Doughty from Juan Diego really stepped up,” said Bartlett. “She asked after every game what she could improve on and was solid at every position. She expressed a desire to try playing center and taking the draw. We put her in without any instructions and she really excelled. She is a solid low defender, but was able to adapt all of her knowledge and be valuable as a middie.”
“Grace Timken also really stepped up,” said Bartlett. “She was coming from the red team and did not skip a beat competing at this level. She was confident and played solid anywhere on the field. As coaches we knew we could play her at any position and she would give 100% effort and be successful. She made smart decisions in the midfield and I think she really added value to the team.”
“The biggest deal that happened this weekend for the black team was the last game of the tournament,” said Bartlett. “All year the Mamaci coaches have been trying to stress the importance of defense. Many members of this team struggled with the fact that everyone is a defender. In our last game the defense was awesome. We forced multiple turnovers and successfully executed double teams in the midfield. We slowed down the other team in the midfield…which has been a problem for the black team all year. It was the defense that finally won this game for them. They were tied with 2:00 minutes to go. The other team got possession and were looking to score. Our defense held strong and we were able to get the ball back and transition it down the field to score. I think this game really increased the player’s confidence in defense and emphasized the importance of everyone knowing how to play it.”
The Mamaci Risers, although playing in a higher division then they should have been, played exceptionally well. The team, full of 5th to 8th graders stepped up and played in the 9th grade division and took on the challenge.
“The Riser’s defense did worked well as a unit and incorporated their newest skill, stick checking,” said Mamaci Coach Julie Glusker.
The Risers lost to Bear Lax in their first game and then beat the Huskies 8-4. The Risers couldn’t overcome a tough Bay Area Wave but managed to beat the Denver Summit team 13-8.
“The team played well in an unexpected high school division,” said Glusker. “We focused on building individual skill and learning the finer points of various field positions.”
Extra: Read the recap from Mamaci in the 2012 Sandstorm Tournament
Pictures courtesy of Stacy Madden and Kristi Halford
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