That’s what Lassiter’s girls lacrosse team is hoping will happen.
The Lady Trojans went way out of their comfort zone over spring break by scheduling games against teams from the Maryland and Washington, D.C., areas — known nationally as the hotbed for lacrosse.
Lassiter (9-3-1) competed against Maryland’s Marriotts Ridge and Glenelg, Illinois’ New Trier and Bishop Ireton of Washington. The schedule concluded with a game against Good Counsel (Md.) at Cambridge High School in Milton.
“The best lacrosse is played in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic,” Lassiter coach Faith Harmeyer said. “I knew we needed to get there to raise our level of play. The game continues to grow in Georgia, but it isn’t played the same down here. I needed to get the girls to face that type of competition, and I think they did well.”
Lassiter went 1-3-1 against its spring break competition.
The Lady Trojans beat Glenelg 14-13 and lost 24-6 to Marriotts Ridge — both neutral-site games in Maryland. The trip started off a day earlier at Bishop Ireton, where Lassiter lost 15-12 before playing to a 15-all draw against New Trier.
Lassiter then returned to Georgia, and after a week off from practice, it lost 21-5 to Good Counsel.
“I knew playing four games in two days would be tough,” Harmeyer said. “The girls were banged-up and bruised because it’s a lot more physical up there. I’m sure playing so many games in a few days played a part in our record, but I’m really proud of the way the girls responded.
“They upped their level of play. It took some time to adjust, and we were worn out when it was over, but they played above my expectations. Well over half my team had never experienced the game played the way they do up there, so it was a learning experience.”
Milton has frequently faced out-of-state competition since 2006, and the result has been seven state championships in the last eight years. While Lassiter has faced out-of-state opponents in the past, most notably from the Southeast, this was its first experience against teams from the Maryland and D.C. areas.
Harmeyer used her connections in the lacrosse community to set up this year’s schedule.
“I coach club lacrosse in the summer, and I put some feelers out there to see if anybody was interested in playing us,” she said. “Through my contacts and emails, things fell together for us.”
Harmeyer noticed a few big differences between how lacrosse is played in Georgia, as opposed to the Mid-Atlantic.
“Their fundamentals are very sharp,” she said. “They don’t drop passes, and their anticipation is phenomenal. They play the game physical, but within the rules.”
Senior midfielder Johnna Fusco enjoyed the trip and thought the team got a lot from it.
“We went up there to get more competitive and raise our level of play,” she said. “We got what we were looking for, and I think it will help us in the long run. It raised the bar for us and gave us an idea of what we’ll need to do to win state.
“The game is definitely way different. It’s faster and they play together. It’s also physical, and you get pushed around and there’s no whistle. You don’t see that down here. You have to really dig deep to get a win against them. It was a tough weekend.”
Lassiter, ranked second heading into tonight’s game at Kell, has five games remaining left in the regular season. Three are against opponents that are currently ranked, including a home finale against top-ranked Milton.
Harmeyer believes the trip north will pay dividends over these final five games.
“After spring break is my favorite time of the season,” she said. “Going up there raised our level of play. I expect the girls to keep that aggression and physical style. I think it will help us in the long run.”