By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
St. Michael-Albertville head coach Jill Anderson was forced to start the girls’ lacrosse season unsure of her goaltending situation.
Senior goalie Carly Walters was on a college visit forcing Anderson to start junior goaltender Sabrina Werth in the team’s inaugural game on April 26 against St. Cloud Area. Werth struggled in her debut and the Knights later replaced her with freshman junior varsity goalie McKenna Eggert. The Knights dropped the opening game 13-12.
In another close battle, the Knights fell to 0-2 with an 11-10 loss on April 29 to Mound-Westonka. Walters started, but eventually gave way to Werth in the second half.
It was after the loss to the White Hawks that Anderson had a plan going forward.
“After the Mound-Westonka loss, coach said to me that I was going to get the starts from here on out,” said Walters, who responded by earning the team’s first win in a 14-6 victory on May 2 over Buffalo. “To hold them to six goals was a big accomplishment and I was really excited after that.”
Walters has since gone 5-1 since taking over as the full-time starter, most recently posting a 10-8 win on May 14 over Mound-Westonka and a 14-5 victory on May 16 over Buffalo. The Knights came into last Tuesday’s showdown with Delano (results not available) with an overall record of 6-3.
“Carly is playing great for us in goal,” Anderson said. “I’m really proud of how much she developed as a goalie.”
Walters has allowed less than 10 goals in five of her six wins – an accomplishment most lacrosse goalies strive for.
“It definitely feels good,” Walters said. “When the team does well, I get jacked and it makes my job in goal so much easier.”
The Knights have feasted offensively as well. In each game, STMA has hit double digits in goals and their offensive leader has come from a cast of different characters.
Senior captain Makenzie Bebo recently scored five goals in a 14-5 win vs. Buffalo. Junior forward Rachel Bourget leads the team so far as the only 20-goal scorer. Senior captain’s Anna Churchill and Karissa Pazen also have led offensively as well as role models for the younger players.
“Our captains are doing so well and they are teaching the younger girls how to play the game,” said Walters, who is one of eight seniors on this year’s roster.
Junior Anne Marie Harold and sophomores Shaye Maetzold and Amanda Dorholt are a few younger players who have shown promise and will likely be leaders next season.
The Knights close out the regular season with home games this Thursday at 6 p.m. against Orono and Friday at 6 p.m. against Elk River.