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New MI Girls Lacrosse Coach Shields Looks for New Heights in Home Opener Tonight

New head coach Liz Shields leads girls lax in season opener at 8 p.m. tonight vs. Seattle Prep.

Far from a rebuilding year, new coach Liz Shields is ready to take her young team to new heights after last year's 10-4 record. 

Gone are last year's stars Ellen Haas (1st team D1 all-state), and Catherine LaPlant, Talia Homchick and Hannah Bahn, all named to the all-state second team D1 last year. Their season ended perhaps prematurely with a 15-16 loss to Lake Sammamish in the state quarterfinals. But that was former coach Craig Van Der Horn's team.

"We graduated about ten girls from last season's team," noted Shields, so "we have a lot of new players."

Shields said she is excited to be coaching and developing what she called a "young" team.  

For experience and leadership, Shields will look to senior team captains Laura Wessbecher, Elizabeth Bachman and Sydney Tomlinson. Big years are also expected from juniors Elena Skouras, goalie Erika Eagan (on varsity since her freshman year), and Megan Jemley (1st Team all state in D2 last year). The newer players to the Division 1 team are "athletic and committed," says Shields, confident they will rise to the occasion and be competitive.

Shields said, "I am hoping to develop the girls into a well conditioned team who hustle for the ball and play competitive lacrosse." Although a rebuilding year, Shields says the team goal is to make the playoffs. Tough match-ups will include well-developed teams that did not lose players from last year's teams like Bainbridge, Lakeside and Snohomish.

Also circled on the calendar is a possible revenge match-up with Lake Sammamish. They match up again March 21, 8pm at Islander stadium.

The Islander D2 team went 6-5 in the season game, finishing in 6th place after losing to Kennedy in the playoffs.

Shields is a familiar face in the MI Boys Lacrosse program, where her husband Rob Shields is Youth Program Director, and her sons Daniel (2009) and Matt (2011) played on the Varsity team. Shields has over ten years of  experience coaching both boys and girls in her native Australia. She has also worked as an umpire-- even representing Austrailia as an umpire in the last women's world cup in Prague (2009).

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