Lady Griffins expecting serious run in 2009-10

Peter Silas Pasqua
Dutchtown’s Chelsea Cruthirds returns for her senior season after earning district MVP honors for the second consecutive season a year ago scoring 44 goals and adding 13 assists.

GEISMAR – Dutchtown continued its history of dominance last season claiming the District 6-I title with a perfect record for the second consecutive season and advancing to the Division I quarterfinals all the while, churning out a school-record 24 wins.

With the departure of just one senior, it is safe to say the Lady Griffins may have some of the highest expectations in school’s eight-year history.

“The thing I am very happy about, is the team’s motivation.,” Dutchtown head coach Anant Vyas said. “On their own, they are very excited about the season. There will be some tough games but I expect them to get better and better each and every game because they will be forced to look into their own determination.”

The Lady Griffins finished 10-0 in district last season and 24-4-2 overall following a 2-1 loss to Fontainebleau in the quarterfinals after ousting Westgate and Dominican to open the postseason. Dutchtown’s only loss to graduation was first-team all-district selection Rachel Jimenez.

“You have to make sure the 10 players on the field are all utilized to show other teams multiple looks,” Vyas said. “That is the challenge we have. You can’t play a one-dimensional game. In the tough games, you realize how much you depend on everybody that is on the field and have to develop confidence and trust in each other.”

Dutchtown returns two-time District MVP Chelsea Cruthirds, a senior who scored 44 goals and had 13 assists a year ago. The Lady Griffins also return junior, Lexi Gibbs, the district co-Offensive MVP, who had a team-high 47 goals and 13 assists to create a deadly 1-2 punch.

“Obviously, there is skill involved but soccer is a very mental game and it often depends on which individual wants it more,” Vyas said. “Trying to do too much on their own could expose them to intelligent defenses so they have to understand their strengths and how they can utilize it for the overall good of the team. Chelsea is more of a powerful forward who can make difficult goals while Lexi is a little more agile and can create in small spaces.”

The list of talent doesn’t end there as first-team selections, senior Annie Etzel and sophomore Lindi Robichaux, also return. Etzel provided five assists a year ago and Robichaux scored 10 goals with 12 assists.

“Our attack is our strength and it was our strength before,” Vyas said. “Characteristically, Dutchtown will play a similar style. That is where we excel but for championship teams, you need a defense that is as good if not better than the offense because you cannot concede goals.”

The leader of the that defense will be second-team all-district goal keeper Taylor Kelley. Also returning for Dutchtown are Megan Romaire, Erica Sweeney and Jaynie Stewart, all second-team performers along with Baige Lipoma.

Dutchtown jumped into a pre-district schedule that began with defending state champion St. Scholastica. The Lady Griffins also face Woodlawn, Baton?Rouge High, Acadiana, Lafayette, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s while participating in tournaments at St. Amant and New Orleans before district starts.

“I just want them to play focused and physically treat each and every contest like a playoff game,” Vyas said. “We just want to start making them believe. District is ours to lose. The girls look forward to those games in parish because they play together on club teams.”

“You can’t become complacent with what you have done. On paper,  you may be fine but other people are working hard  waiting to beat you. The key is to stay focused and play together. We will leave it to the luck of the draw. It is attainable as much as last year. I know there are other teams in a similar situation but I would rather look at our team than compare them to somebody else.”

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