Around the Crease: April 12, 2012

Caroline Carlson has 18 goals and 14 assists this season for Coronado. Robert Weissenfels

ESPNHS continues its weekly feature, Around the Crease, which takes a look at players, teams and high school lacrosse news from around the country.

Small School, Big Passion

Coronado (Calif.) senior goalie Meganne Weissenfels describes what drives her Coronado girls’ lacrosse team in one word: passion.

"All of the girls have a whole lot of heart and that's what keeps us going," said Weissenfels, one of the Islanders' two senior starters along with attack Nikki Kruger. "It's that passion we have and the tenacity that we play with."

Coronado is about a 10-minute drive from the heart of San Diego and is among the smaller schools in California with about 700 students. Despite the size, the Islanders annually compete with and defeat schools with populations four times their size.

The Islanders who are ranked No. 1 in California by ESPNHS have won every City League title since 2003 and posted a record of 170-25 against city rivals during that time. Last year, the Islanders captured the Division II San Diego County section title of the California Interscholastic Federation and defeated Torrey Pines (San Diego, Calif.) who won the Division I title.

"La Costa Canyon, which we played earlier this season has close to 3,500 kids at the school, and we beat them. It's the same with Torrey Pines,” said 16-year coach Jessica Battle. “Those are huge schools and year after year we've done really well."

Battle developed her roots in Maryland where she played attack for Holy Child (Potomac, Md.) before heading to play college lacrosse at Ohio Wesleyan.

"When I first moved to San Diego, there were only about six club programs," said Battle, "Someone found out that I was here, and they put me in touch with Coronado. That was their second year of lacrosse here, but I've been here since then."

Although this year's squad is youthful, it is far from inexperienced, their starting attack is comprised of junior Caroline Carlson (22 goals, 14 assists) and sophomores Martha Byrne (23 goals) and Eric Keamy (19 goals).

"We have an awesome attack and we're super close knit," said Byrne. "I think our relationships definitely helps us. We can always read well and we always know when the other person is going to be open."

Weissenfels anticipates the upcoming challenges, which include an April 19 game against Torrey Pines and a rematch against La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.). Overall, nine teams remain on the regular season schedule for the Islanders and those teams have a combined record of 53-17.

"I think the games that we're playing are warming us up for what's to come. Our game against LCC (La Costa Canyon) was a good opener. It helped us to break out, but I'm really excited about the tougher games coming up this year," said Weissenfels. "Torrey Pines has always been good competition for us. I know that we've had some struggles with them in the past, having lost to them two years ago. They're probably gunning for us, so I'm looking forward to a close game."

Parker Jackson's Legacy shines through in fifth annual Lacrosse Cup

The fifth-annual Legacy Lacrosse Cup takes place this April 13 and 14 at Milton (Ga.) and hosts teams from Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Comprised of 16 teams, the event features nine boys and six girls teams in addition to a college game between Georgia and Georgia Tech.

The tournament's theme grew from the memory of former Milton sophomore lacrosse player Parker Jackson, who died in a car accident in November of 2006.

"The tournament was more or less set up for him, but we intentionally did not call it the Parker Jackson Memorial Tournament," said Lauren Jackson, Parker's mother. "Parker loved lacrosse. Once he picked up a lacrosse stick as an eighth grader, he never picked up his baseball glove again."

The tournament has gained the support of former Johns Hopkins star midfielder Kyle Harrison, a past NCAA Player of The Year who wears Parker's initials on his helmet as a professional member of LXM.

The tournament directly affects the ESPNHS Boys’ State Rankings in several states including Georgia No. 2 Milton playing both Tennessee No. 1 Memphis University School (Memphis, Tenn.) and North Carolina No. 1 Charlotte Latin (Charlotte, N.C.).

The entire tournament schedule can be found here.