July 18, 2024


Step Into The Technology

Redwood takes Giant step toward NCS title

5 min read

The seniors on the girls lacrosse team are writing a new chapter in Redwood High’s history books, and they hope to punctuate it with the program’s first North Coast Section pennant.

The Giants took another big step closer to the goal with Thursday’s 20-9 victory over California in the NCS Division I quarterfinals. The top-seeded Giants will host either No. 4 Amador Valley or No. 5 Davis in the semifinals on Tuesday.

“It feels like all the hard work we put in is paying off,” said Harper Glass, who scored four goals for Redwood. “This is as far as we got when we were freshmen, so we really want to keep pushing.”

Redwood was poised to follow up on the team’s 2019 NCS run, but the 2020 season was virtually wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Giants posted an unblemished MCAL record last season, but there was still no postseason. So for Glass and her senior classmates, this playoff run has been a long time coming.

“This is what we’ve been working toward,” said senior attacker Grace Minturn, who scored four goals against the No. 9 Grizzlies.

Senior midfielder Megan Minturn got the action rolling barely a minute into the game after she blocked a shot, forced a turnover deep in the Redwood zone and then carried the ball the length of the field for the first of her five goals.

The Grizzlies simply could not match the speed and athleticism of Megan Minturn and the Giants.

“The defense really fueled the attack today,” Megan Minturn said. “The ground balls, the turnovers, it all fueled our offense.”

California tied the score a minute later on a penalty shot by senior Catherine Casserly. The Grizzlies scored four of their goals off penalty shots.

“Our defense is really solid, as long as we don’t put the other team on the eight-meters,” Redwood coach Lauren Yee said. “We played great defense in front of our goalie (Emme Turkington).”

Turkington had no saves in the first half and just two saves total on 15 shots by the Grizzlies.

Penalty shots and high-percentage attempts helped California keep the score relatively close through most of the first half. Charlotte DeFrino and Glass scored to give the Giants a 3-1 lead, but an eight-meter shot by California’s Evie McMahon threatened to knock down the Giants.

The teams traded runs and the score stood at 5-1 midway through the first half before Megan Minturn again raced the length of the field, but this time passed the ball to Grace, who launched the ball into the net for the goal. That was the beginning of a 6-0 run by the Giants, with goals by DeFrino, Megan Minturn, Glass, Sydney Kaster and Riley Peterson, for a 11-4 lead.

A penalty shot by McMahon and a goal by Diya Madhok bookended a Grace Minturn goal as the first half ended with the Giants leading 12-6.

“We really improved our shot selection and our shooting in general,” California coach Shannon Geary said.

McMahon led the Grizzlies with four goals and Abby Kunz scored twice.

“We got off to a slow start, but our senior core picked up the pace,” Yee said. “A lot of what we do relies on our seniors. They’ve been pushing because it is their senior year. They want to make it something special.”

With Glass taking the draw, the Giants controlled the play for most of the game. Her ball handling — paired with her long frame and ability to leap over opponents to pluck the ball out of midair — gave Redwood an advantage for which the Grizzlies had no answer. She was able to win the draw and either slice through the California defense for a goal, or distribute the ball to the open attackers off the draw.

“Generally, when you win most of the draws, you win the game,” said Glass.

The Giants opened the second half with a 4-0 run, with goals by Megan Minturn, Glass, Grace Minturn and Maya Mihara, before California scored back-to-back goals.

Mihara’s pass from behind the net to Grace Minturn, who was parked in front of the goal for the score gave Redwood a 18-8 lead midway through the second half and put the running clock into play.

Kunz scored for California, but Megan Minturn quickly responded with a leaping, spinning shot that found the far side of the net. DeFrino then added her third goal with less than a minute to play.

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