Prose and Kohn: Ryan Kohn.
The Riverview High girls lacrosse team saw its season come to an end on April 5 in a 13-11 district semifinal loss to The Out-of-Door Academy.
On one hand, that’s unfortunate, because I was looking forward to watching junior Veronica McCurdy play a few more games. On the other, with all her stats now final, McCurdy’s fantastic season can be put into proper context. The attacker scored 49 goals this season (an average of 4.5 a game). She also racked up 31 assists, giving her a total of 80 points (7.3 a game).
It’s difficult to find national girls lacrosse figures, in part because the sport is still trying to blossom in certain parts of the country (including this one), and in part because girls sports generally receive less attention. Laxrecords.com, for instance, only keeps boys high school lacrosse stats. MaxPreps is the only major site keeping track of girls lacrosse stats, but it's not a complete picture.
Riverview doesn’t even supply its stats to MaxPreps, instead choosing to display them on riverviewramslacrosse.com. I’m sure there are other schools doing this as well, but for the purpose of adding perspective to McCurdy’s season, MaxPreps will do just fine.
McCurdy’s season-goals total is tied for 38th in the country, according to the site, and her goals-per-game average is higher than 19 girls in front of her. McCurdy’s point total ties her for 11th in the country.
Her incredible season almost didn’t happen. After McCurdy’s freshman year, at Cardinal Mooney, she considered dropping the sport. It was her first official year of the sport, and she was not scoring, nor having fun. She stuck with it, though, and now she’s glad she did. McCurdy’s sophomore year at Mooney was when everything clicked, she said. The team was stocked with talent, including midfielder Farrah Nelson, now playing for John Carroll University.
“They (her teammates) helped develop my skills a lot,” McCurdy said. “I also got a lot more playing time, a lot more experience on the field, which helped. Last year, I really thought about playing in college and taking it to the next level. My sister (Haley McCurdy) is the captain of the FSU (club) lacrosse team. She’s a defender, but she really worked with me and helped me.”
All that assistance helped McCurdy score in bunches. She began driving to the net, something she was afraid to do in her first season. It’s funny to hear her say this, because watching McCurdy now is like watching an electric eel, and I mean that only in positive ways. She slips through impossibly small lanes between defenders, slithers her way to goal and — I’m not even sorry for this one — shocks goaltenders with her quick release.
She finished the 2015-2016 season with 27 goals and 45 points. After that season, McCurdy tested into Pine View School, though she would not have left Cardinal Mooney without the ability to play lacrosse at Riverview. With the Rams, she has found teammates just as talented, and McCurdy credits all of them with her becoming an offensive juggernaut.
McCurdy did not hesitate when asked about her favorite goal in her young career, though it does require a little backstory.
"St. Stephen's coach (Leeann Fronckowiak) was actually the Mooney coach when my sister was there, so I did work with her for a while,” McCurdy said. “I did a couple training sessions with her after we played them last year. I was like, 'What do I need to do, because I want to play in college.' She said 'You have no left hand.' She literally said that.
“She worked on it with me, shooting left. The next time we played St. Stephen's last year, in the district final, she told her team to force me left. I went and drove goal and scored. My first left-handed goal was against St. Stephen's."
Someone who just learned to use her left hand a year ago is now putting up 80-point seasons. If McCurdy continues on her current trajectory, there’s no reason she cannot climb even higher on the national goal- and point-scoring charts during her senior campaign.