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KEVIN SULLIVAN , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Mater Dei's Cressita Bowman was the Register's girls lacrosse coach of the year.

Girls lacrosse coach of the year: Mater Dei's Cressita Bowman

STAFF WRITER

Cressita Bowman arrived at Mater Dei before the start of the 2012 girls lacrosse season with big plans.

Bowman had just led Santa Margarita to the Trinity League title and to the finals of the Orange County playoffs.

Building up the sport at Mater Dei was going to be her next challenge.

“It was still a new sport (for the school), relatively speaking,” Bowman said. “I had to work hard to change the culture of lacrosse at Mater Dei, to just have people buy in and make a bigger commitment than maybe what they were used to before I got there.

“The way sports are today, you kind of have to specialize and commit to something, and now we have a lot more dedication to the sport year-round.”

The Monarchs made big strides last season, advancing to the county semifinals.

This season, they won the Orange County and Southern Section titles. For her leadership during this season, Bowman is the Register’s Orange County girls lacrosse coach of the year.

It is the second time she has received the award.

“It was awesome seeing the maturity in just one year,” Bowman said. “We all took the loss last year (in the semifinals) really hard, because we knew what we were capable of. I think it was a necessary loss for us to understand our potential and to learn those crucial things about the game.

“The guys really matured a lot in terms of being able to do what I asked of them.”

Mater Dei averaged 16.6 goals through their first six games of the season, and finished at 16 goals per game. The Monarchs finished with four players that scored at least 50 goals: Mackenzie Wallevand (92), Grace Houser (74), Lauren Gonzales (68) and Maddi Hooks (52).

“They were really focused in when we were at practice or at a game,” Bowman said. “They took direction well and started to trust me more and trust each other.”

The Monarchs should enter next season near the top of the county rankings. Mater Dei’s top four goal scorers and goalie Courtney Walburger, who was the MVP of the Southern Section final, are juniors.

There were only two seniors, Alexia Hipsher and Claire Van Eenenaam, on this year’s roster.

“It was inspiring for the young girls to help achieve those goals this season,” Bowman said. “That’s why I think this year was so magical, because I didn’t think of the players and grad years. I thought of them as, ‘OK, this your skill set, and we all had different roles on the team.’ That’s why I think we were so strong as a group.”

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ALL-COUNTY GIRLS LACROSSE

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@ocregister.com


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