Hoping to take strides
St. Charles girls lax eager to push program further
In the weeks leading up to its season opener against Westlake, the St. Charles High School girls lacrosse team had to learn how to navigate through the elements in their last two home scrimmages against Westlake and Gwynn Park High School from Prince George’s County as blustery, snowy conditions greeted the Spartans and their opponents last Monday.
Two years ago in their inaugural campaign, the Spartans girls won just two games, but last year they more than doubled that sum to five. This spring, St. Charles third-year coach Mark Stanley is cautiously optimistic that the squad can add to that total, while senior midfielder Tamrin Swann, a Delaware State University recruit, is eager to see the team excel.
“We won more games last year than we did our first season, so realistically I would just like to keep adding more wins and end up with a winning season,” said Stanley, who also coaches the Southern Maryland Revolution girls lacrosse team, which attracts players from Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties. “We still have a long ways to go to catch up with Northern and Huntingtown and La Plata, but I’m always looking forward to those games.”
Swann, who spent her freshman year at Thomas Stone, is the Spartans’ first female athlete to garner a Division I scholarship for any sport. She represents a solid corps of returning senior starters that also includes attacker Alexia DeHetre, goalie Gabrielle Cleveland and midfielder Arianna Hebner, the squad’s leading scorer in 2016 when she tallied more that 50 goals en route to being named the Spartans’ Most Valuable Player.
“This is my last chance to play together with these
seniors and we’re all looking forward to seeing how many games we can win this year,” Swann said. “We’ve grown together as a team and become like a family during my three years here since coming from Thomas Stone. It would be great if we could become the best team in Charles County and play in the SMAC championship game.”
While Stanley did not quite share Swann’s longterm optimism, citing La Plata as the team to beat in the Potomac Division, he did commend Swann, Hebner, DeHetre, Cleveland and sophomore defender Ashley Kress, an All-SMAC first-team choice last spring, for their hard work and steady improvement. Stanley does believe their continued chemistry should equate to more success during the season.
“Tamrin is the first girls player at St. Charles to go to a Division I school and I think only the second player from the school ever,” Stanley said, referring to 2016 graduate William Kwenkeu, now at Temple University on a football scholarship. “She does a lot of things really well for us. Arianna had a great year last season and I think she was a little disappointed not to make All-SMAC, but the other two girls ahead of her deserved it. But that definitely served as motivation.”
While Alexia DeHetre will be in her final season with the squad, her younger sister, freshman Kayla DeHetre, could be among the team’s budding stars, along with sophomores Kress and Rachel Hendricks. Kress earned her spot on the AllSMAC team last spring as a freshman thanks to her defensive intensity and she provides ample support for Cleveland.
“I know in any game that I can put Ashley on the other team’s best offensive player and she’s going to shut her down,” Stanley said. “In a sport where offenses can dominate, she does a great job on defense. Kayla really wanted to play for us this spring. She requested jersey No. 10, which is the jersey number that Kaitlyn Harley wore last season as a senior.”
St. Charles is scheduled to open the season at home at 5 p.m. today against Westlake and then travel to McDonough on Friday before concluding the month with an away game at Calvert (March 28) then a home clash against Huntingtown (March 30).
St. Charles High School girls lacrosse defenders await the draw on March 13 in a scrimmage against visiting Gwynn Park of Prince George’s County. St. Charles had less trouble with the Yellow Jackets than they did navigating through the snowy, blustery conditions on their home field.