New Fruita girls lacrosse coach hopes players catch on quickly
A little more than one week after being introduced to their new coach, the Fruita Monument High School girls lacrosse team begins its season.
The Wildcats, who return all but four players, open Friday against Aspen at 3 p.m. at Canyon View Park. The Grand Junction girls and Fruita Monument and Grand Junction boys open March 25.
“It’s kind of weird, because we haven’t been practicing for very long,” senior midfielder Katie Heil said. “We all get along really well. We don’t have any drama. Hopefully we can come together and play well Friday.”
“There is a lot to learn with a week of practice before game day,” Clay Campbell said. “We work really hard to make sure what’s going on. When you do that, it’s a lot better.”
New Wildcats coach Jamie Pietrack believes the girls are picking up her offense and defense quickly. She had 36 girls come out for the team, about 10 more than last season.
“It’s a mad dash to get ready, but the girls are catching on quickly,” said Pietrack, who coached at Eagle Valley the past two seasons. “I’m trying to learn about the girls and what they are capable of.”
Fruita Monument will run a continuous motion offense and attempt to take advantage of what opposing defenses give them, Pietrack said.
“It’s better than I thought it would be, it’s coming together well,” Heil said. “We’ve been conditioning a lot, so hopefully we can run other teams into the ground.”
Heil is one of a few seniors Pietrack will look to lead the team as it transitions under a new coach in only the program’s second year.
“Katie is one of the most experienced players we have,” Pietrack said. “She is a strong all-around player. She has great stick skills and is accurate with her ball placement.”
Campbell has played two full seasons, but has picked up solid defensive skills.
“Clay is our leader on defense,” Pietrack said. “She is vocal and will make sure we’re rotating (to the ball).”
Seniors Mikayla Clark and Pam Stevens play key roles for the Wildcats. Clark is a midfielder and Stevens is an offensive attacker.
The girls think Pietrack will be a good coach for them.
“We’re all excited to have a new coach,” Campbell said. “She makes us practice hard, which makes us better.”
“We have some good girls coaches that know what they are talking about,” Heil said. “I think we’ll really improve a lot this year.”
The Wildcats lost their final four games of last season and finished 5-7 under Lenny Lang. They won three of their first four games.
“Hopefully, we win all our (home) games,” Campbell said. “We want to beat Junction because they are our rival and we’d like to make the playoffs.”