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MICHAEL GOULDING, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Los Alamitos coach Liz Connelly, in glasses, stands with some of her returning senior players, from left to right, Gaby Fukamura, Emily Alpaugh, Julie Crowell, and Bailey Brannon before a recent practice at Los Alamitos High.

Los Alamitos greedy for more

OCVARSITY.COM

Athletes sometimes can be creatures of habit. If Los Alamitos girls lacrosse coach Liz Connelly has her way, the Griffins will continue their winning habits.

Los Alamitos will enter the 2013 season vying for its fifth consecutive county and Southern Section championships.

There will be some added pressure on the team, which has been the most dominant program in Orange County girls lacrosse, but expectations for this season's squad will be the same as for past ones.

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"I think I'm expecting the same thing I expect every year," Connelly said. "Which is for my team to play as hard as it can for every possession of every game."

Julie Crowell will lead the Griffins. In 2012, Crowell made the Register's All-County team by posting 47goals, 13 assists and 42groundballs.

The team lost three All-County players — Keaton Otake, Sophia Aragon and Kat Moretta — to graduation. Los Alamitos will look to reload with the likes of juniors Grace Schmidt-Beck and Caitlin Derry.

Winning might lead to complacency in some cases, but not for the Griffins. Connelly said this team has been easy to motivate.

Motivation comes from the main philosophy that has been instilled in the program — competition.

"(Competition) is a big theme in our program," Connelly said. "We compete against each other, then together and against other teams. Practices are brutal. If you aren't giving it your all, you're not giving your teammate a chance to get better."

While the team has been competing against itself this winter, it'll have plenty of opportunities to prove itself this spring with what Connelly said was the "toughest schedule we've ever had at Los Alamitos."

The calendar shows dates against Coronado and La Costa Canyon of San Diego, and a trip to Colorado, where the team will take on Regis Jesuit of Aurora, Air Academy of Air Force Academy and Kent Denver of Cherry Hills Village.

The Griffins also face county foes such as Mater Dei, Foothill, Beckman and Corona del Mar, which Los Alamitos defeated, 12-6, in the U.S. Lacrosse Division I South final last season.

All of those teams will try to drill the target, which has been placed firmly on Los Alamitos' back after years of success.

Connelly says there will be plenty of teams coming after her squad; she doesn't appear too worried, though.

"There's a little bit of pressure," Connelly said. "But we focus on developing individuals as best we can, then the team. We look past Orange County, past Los Angeles.

"We want to be the best team in the West, then, hopefully one day, the nation."

Contact the writer: amorales@ocregister.com


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