Athens girls LAX looking to improve

By: Christian Davis | Troy Times | Published May 4, 2016

TROY — Troy Athens girls lacrosse coach Rob Holder knows it can be better.

Holder saw his team’s potential in the beginning of the year, starting the season with three straight wins, but since then, the Red Hawks have won two of their last eight contests.

“I felt like we started out hot out of the gate, but we’ve had some injuries — that’s hurting us,” he said following a 7-4 loss to Farmington High April 27 at home.

At press time, Athens was 5-6 overall and 1-3 in the Oakland Activities Association White Division, beating Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 13-11 two days after the Farmington loss.

Against Farmington, Athens controlled much of the play and outshot the Falcons 18-10, but Farmington made the most of its opportunities.

The Falcons raced out to a 3-0 lead 15 minutes into the game. Danielle Stanichuk got the Red Hawks on the board with 7:05 left in the half on a pass from JoJo Ruit.

The Falcons pushed their lead to 5-1 with 18:17 left in the game before Athens battled back, getting three goals from Megan McHugh in the last eight minutes of the game to cut the lead to two, but that’s as close as it would get.

“We turned the ball over a ton; that was our biggest problem,” Holder said. “Right now, we’re putting the ball on the turf way too much.”

Holder said there have been bright spots. Senior goalie Kate McEachern has kept opponents under double digits in five of the 11 games.

McHugh has given the Red Hawks a scoring punch, including her three second-half goals against Farmington. 

“She’s been doing it on both ends, scoring and playing defense,” Holder said of the senior. “Probably over our last four games, she’s been our best player.”

The Red Hawks have five regular-season games left before the playoffs, including one against rival Troy High May 9 on the road.

“We just need to get better with the playoffs coming up and set the goal to be successful in the playoffs,” Holder said. “We just have to find out what we’re made of.”