Instead, the Knights have picked up where they left off with a 10-3 overall record and 5-1 mark in Area 3AAAAAA as they look forward to trying for another state playoff run.
“It’s been a great season,” Centennial coach Angela Brunner said. “We graduated seven seniors last year and we’re currently starting four freshmen, so we’re a very young team. For us being so young, we are really exceeding my expectations.
“We are learning, especially from those close losses that we had. I think we’re having a great season for being as young as we are.”
With a team comprised largely of freshman, Brunner said that there certainly was an adjustment period as her young players learned the Knights’ complex defensive system.
“We run a certain defense that takes a lot of practice,” Brunner said. “Just learning all our plays and learning the style of lacrosse with having seven freshmen on a team of 15 – that’s half the team. So, defensively, we had a big adjustment where we had to work with them to get them caught up in our style of play.”
Centennial certainly had a tough act to follow as it came off a breakthrough year in which it posted a 17-1-1 record and was undefeated until its quarterfinal loss to eventual runner-up Lassiter.
“It was such a special season being undefeated and it shows you what hard work does when you have such a small team,” Brunner said. “We played teams who have 20-plus girls on their roster and we’re lucky if we can build a varsity team of 15 girls who have played before, just because we’re rebuilding our junior program. We had an amazing group of seniors who were great leaders and kind of set standards for this program going forward.
“It was an amazing season for the coaches and the school and the players and our junior program that we’re starting. I think it gave them hope and brought in players to the program and this year we have only about two girls who were on [junior varsity] and played before and the rest of them are brand new. Because of the season we had last year, it is definitely more appealing for them to join the lacrosse team this season.”
Centennial has achieved their success without All-American senior goalkeeper Lucy Barton, who has missed most of the season for medical reasons.
Senior defender Kayla Johnson has provided the young Knights with crucial leadership as well as strong play on the defensive end.
Senior midfielders Becca Davis and Eliza Bergman have also provided leadership, while sophomore attacker Julia Couch has been a key player on the offensive end and junior goalkeeper Morgan Wilson has filled in successfully for Barton.