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Holladay Journal

Challenging early schedule strengthens Olympus girls lacrosse team

Apr 09, 2024 11:29AM ● By Josh McFadden

Hannah Nelson is a senior captain, All-American and All-Academic talent for Olympus lacrosse.

In any sport, some coaches like to start off the season with manageable games against foes with less talent and experience. Other coaches prefer to get their teams battle tested by facing the best opponents possible. Another philosophy is to have good mix of the two. 

The Olympus girls lacrosse team didn’t shy away from facing a challenging schedule. 

The Titans were 3-1 in their first four games, with the only loss coming at the hands of Foothill High School in California, a three-time defending state champion from the Golden State. Olympus lost that contest 10-5, but head coach Zana Spratling saw positives in the defeat. 

“It showed us what we need to work on,” she said. 

Outside of that setback, the first four games went the Titans’ way in dominant fashion. Olympus crushed Farmington 23-5 to open the season March 8. This preceded a 20-7 win over Herriman on March 11. Following the loss to Foothill on March 18, Olympus rebounded with a 20-5 triumph over Bingham at home. 

Olympus went 17-1 last season with its only loss coming in the Class 5A state title game against Park City, a 12-8 defeat. The Titans won the 5A title in 2022 by edging Park City 10-9. 

Though girls lacrosse as a sanctioned sport is still in its infancy, the Titans have quickly established themselves as a state power. Spratling said the girls play together well and truly buy into the team concept. 

“We win as a team and lose as a team,” she said. “For this season to be a success, we need to show up and play for each other.”

What makes the Titans so good? The team has talent all over the field and excels both offensively and defensively. Spratling said Olympus has excellent midfielders and does well fast-breaking. 

“We are strong on the draw, usually winning over 69% of the time,” she said. “When the girls are on, our midfield transitions are beautiful, and we often score off fast breaks.”

The team isn’t perfect, of course. Spratling said the Titans need to get better on settling the attack and defending. She also pointed out that Region 6, where the Titans compete, is filled with good teams. 

“We are in a very stacked region and have a lot of formidable competition in the weeks ahead,” she said. “The trick is turning losses into lessons and challenges into opportunities.”

A quartet of seniors lead the Titans, each of whom have a list of accolades that Spratling highlighted. Hazel Baker was an All-American last season and also earned academic honors. She has committed to play next season at the University of Oregon. Sydney Rossi will play Division 1 lacrosse next year as well. She’ll begin her college career at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York. Lily Nelson is another player to watch. The senior earned all-academic recognition a year ago. 

The junior class is strong too. Two players, midfielders Elizabeth Anné and Sarah Anne, have already committed to play in college at Penn State. Masami Goodick, at attacker, gives defenses fits. 

“I could brag about all of my girls forever,” Spratling said. “They are all such hard workers and amazing teammates.”

As a coach, Spratling enjoys the X’s and O’s of the game and all the strategy and planning that goes into it. She loves the success the team has had too. But what she loves the most goes beyond the playing field. 

“I enjoy watching the girls learn and grow,” she said. “I love meeting them when they’re 14 years old and seeing who they are when they graduate, how ready they are to go conquer the world. They impress me so much, and I learn more from them than I am sure they learn from me.” λ