Piedmont girls lacrosse strong up front, and on defense

Friedie Schickedanz (55) plays in 2023.

Piedmont High School girls lacrosse coach Carlton Chan said he feels good about this year’s team.

“I think they’re much more balanced than last year,” Chan said. “Last year, I felt we were going to be good, not great. But this group is going to be better. Less reliance on (graduated) Molly Ashton. The girls getting one year older and one year better. They share the ball better.”

Ashton was the one sure scorer from a year ago, but she’ll be replaced by multiple players who can generate offense. Junior Friedie Schickedanz is one of those. She spent the fall as a quarterback on the new girls football team and then played goalkeeper for the soccer team.

“She’s going to run that offense,” Chan said. “Depending on the situation, we’ll have Friedie take the draw.”

Orla Cohen (0) and Peyton Watson (18) on May 2, 2023.

There was an influx of talented freshmen last year and a couple should break out as sophomores. Both Peyton Watson and Hallie Burden will split time at attack and midfield.

“(Watson) has just gotten better,” Chan said. “The reason why she has gotten better, she’s utilizing her left side. She was a little afraid to use it last year. This year she can go left and right. So she’s going to be difficult to defend.”

Of Burden, Chan said, “She played on (the junior varsity last year), she got a lot of minutes. This season, she’s going to be very important to the offense. Her draw-taking ability is really amazing so we’re hoping that will translate into possessions for us.”

Senior Ruby Guzdar is back She will also split time on attack and at midfield.

“(Guzdar’s) going to put up a lot of numbers,” he said. “To be effective, we’d prefer we just play her on attack. But our midfield is very thin. So we’re going to have to run her a lot.

Laurel Bentley (14) on May 2, 2023.

Another senior at attack is Laurel Bentley.

“She’s always been a steady player, a good player,” Chan said. “She knows the offense really well. I think it’s her voice, her leadership we love about her. Most of the time the offense starts with her setting the offense.”

Junior Chloe Graham is another who will play attack and midfield.

“She probably understands the game better than anybody,” Chan said. “She cuts better than anybody on the team. She always finds her way in front of the goal.”

A pair of seniors anchor the defense: Hailey Marshburn and Jane Hempeck.

“Two girls who can just play 1-D-1 defense better than anybody,” Chan said. “Lockdown defenders. Really understanding the defense and staying connected. With Hailey and Jane, it’s really hard to move that ball down the field.”

He added, “Hailey’s just an athlete.”

Hailey Marshburn (21) on March 24, 2023.

Senior Orla Cohen is back at defense. Sophomore Jameson Sanford is the fourth defender.

“The four low defenders have played together for a long time,” Chan said. “We have very strong core defenders.”

Junior Annika Hattan-Kutter takes over as goalkeeper.

“In practice, she’s good,” Chan said. “She has experience. She’s really good, she’s really quick. This season, shes going to learn a lot.”

There should be enough firepower to score goals and a strong defense to keep the opponents away from the net. The middle is the weakness but by rotating players in and out of those positions, Chan hopes to alleviate the problem.

“We’re going to preach ball control,” Chan said. “We’ll just give them a rest. The weakness is the lungs.”

Once again, Bishop O’Dowd is the rival in West Alameda County Conference play.

“The seniors goal is to beat O’Dowd,” Chan said. “Win league second. Worry about (the North Coast Section playoffs) later. I think everything will work itself out.

“I think it’ll be a fun season.”

The season got underway on Feb. 28 with a 12-5 win over host Dublin. Guzdar scored five goals and Schickedanz and Bentley had two apiece. Graham, Watson, and Burden had single goals. Hattan-Kutter recorded six saves.

Morgan Overton had two goals for the Gaels (1-1).

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