Speedy improvisation on fast breaks has become the trademark of an entertaining St. Ursula Academy lacrosse team.
The Arrows head into postseason play today with a 13-3 record. They also hold the No. 17 ranking out of 95 Ohio high school teams in the latest state poll.
St. Ursula hopes to begin another lengthy playoff run when it plays a district semifinal against Green High School at home tonight at 6.
"Our game is control and speed," coach Paul Sieben said. "We can freelance on fast breaks. Then once we know we are ahead we can take time off the clock."
The team scores an average of 13.4 goals per game, while giving up 7.8. Yet the team is a young squad with only three seniors.
"But they are hard working and they're very fast," Sieben said.
In fact, Sieben said it's the fastest team he has coached since his arrival at St. Ursula in 2006.
Junior attack Tenley Seidel is the team's leading scorer and co-captain. Seidel has scored 48 goals and has eight assists.
Junior Clare Kelly, right, defends during practice. With 26 goals, she has also been a force on offense.
"She's the fastest girl on our team," Sieben said. "It's like in basketball where you have transition and fast breaks. She can break away from the pack."
Junior attack Sasha Mandros is the second-leading scorer with 42 goals and 12 assists.
"Sasha has some awesome moves," Sieben said.
Junior goalie Kyra Maludy has started every game and has a 13-3 record. The first-year starter has a 0.550 save percentage.
"She's smart and has real quick reflexes," Sieben said. "She really is a student of the game."
Maludy, Seidel, and Mandros have earned a spot on an Ohio all-star team that will be coached by Sieben.
"This is the first time any player from the Toledo area has been selected to play on this team. And we have three," he said.
The Ohio North Coast team will compete in a tournament over the Memorial Day weekend.
"All three are college prospects," he said.
Sieben said he also has a well-balanced Arrows team.
Junior Clare Kelly is a speedy midfielder who has 26 goals and 14 assists. Midfielder Molly McCabe, a junior, leads the team in groundball pickups with 80.
"That's very important for the team," Sieben said.
Junior attack Sarah Whitney has scored 30 goals to go along with 10 assists.
Sieben has been at the helm of the Arrows program since its inception in 2006. The team has won the Toledo Area Lacrosse Association league title every year since. The league includes teams from Bedford, Perrysburg, Anthony Wayne, Ottawa Hills, Sylvania (combined Northview and Southview), Maumee Valley, and Notre Dame.
"We went undefeated this season," Sieben said.
The Arrows have compiled a 71-30 record since 2006. Sieben said his schedule includes top teams from the Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati areas.
The team has reached the elite eight level in the postseason several times. In 2007, the Arrows had their best showing as they reached the state semifinals.
"I think this team has the potential to at least win our next two playoff games," Sieben said.
If the Arrows get by Green, they likely will face perennial powerhouse Thomas Worthington in the district final Monday in Columbus.
"If we have 30 shots and get 30 groundballs a game, we will win," Sieben said. "We just need to control the ball."
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