One year removed from a tight 7-6 victory over the Burlingame Coyotes, the San Jose Extreme girls lacrosse team had the Coyotes number once again, defeating them 13-5 to capture their third straight Northern California club championship.The convincing win in the title game put a bow on another perfect campaign for the Extreme, led by senior captain Stephanie LaRocca, who scored three goals in the game.
LaRocca, a recent graduate of Notre Dame-San Jose, suffered a torn ACL in October in ND-San Jose’s season-opening volleyball match. Determined to make it back to help her team, LaRocca filled up the stat sheet with a remarkable hat trick in a 13-5 win for the Extreme.
“Frankly, I don’t remember any of the goals I scored,” LaRocca said. “The weekend wasn’t about scoring goals; it was the last time playing with a lot of my teammates. Burlingame is a friendly rival. We wanted to wrap the year with a win and we did it.”
LaRocca is playing with several Extreme teammates on the Bay Area Wave.
The Wave is a girls lacrosse club which plays at Stanford University. LaRocca is planning to attend Bentley College in Massachusetts in the fall, continuing her lacrosse career at the D-III level.
“I’m excited to start college, but nervous at the same time,” LaRocca said. “I’m enjoying my summer playing for the Wave, then looking forward to playing with my new college teammates. The leadership may be different on next year’s Extreme team, but the skill will never go away. They’re always going to be a very good team.”
Jackie Ryan (Branham High School), Katie Hubbert (Valley Christian), Christiana Horimoto (Leland) and Kristen Wandryk (Mountain View) also scored goals in the win over Burlingame.
Adding assists were Abby Yee (Presentation), Sarah Bieszczad (Aptos), Natalie Bonnepart (Gunderson) and Wandryk. Goalie Jessica Lappe (Los Altos) recorded six saves and Kathryn Frazer, an Almaden resident and a junior at St. Francis, had two.
The 11-team Northern California Junior Lacrosse Association high school club league consists of teams from Monterey to Stockton.
The Extreme players attend a dozen high schools that do not offer varsity lacrosse.
“Any girl that wants to play lacrosse can join,” said John Fensterwald, president of the San Jose Extreme. “We have five teams with ranging age levels, including two high school teams–one with our more experienced players and the other team with newer players.”
The Extreme won the league tournament at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma. Vanessa Royle, a junior at Presentation, scored four goals in the victory against Burlingame. LaRocca had three scores, while Molly Fensterwald had two goals and three assists in the victory.
“We really came together as a team this season,” Molly Fensterwald said. “We all worked well together. A lot of us have been playing together for over five years. This season was a lot of fun. It was great to beat Burlingame and win league again.”
While the Extreme will miss savvy senior caption and team leader LaRocca, Fensterwald leads a stacked junior class returning next season under the command of coach Jessica Paige.
“Jessica has been with us for six years and has done a great job with this group of girls,” John Fensterwald said. “She started coaching several of these girls when they were in the sixth grade.”
John Fensterwald, a Baltimore native, grew up watching perennial men’s lacrosse power Johns Hopkins University.
“I got to watch one of the top programs in the country,” Fensterwald said. “I decided to start this club as a another way for girls to have fun. Soccer has gotten so competitive; starting this club gave girls in the area another opportunity to play a great sport.”
For the third straight season, a member of the Extreme was selected to the all-California high lacrosse team.
Royle was a member last season. Molly Fensterwald, daughter of John, was selected to the elite squad of California’s best this season.
“Molly making the team is really a tribute to her hard work and the hard work of her teammates and coaches,” John Fensterwald said. “Her main strength as a player is her speed.”
Forty girls statewide were selected: 20 from Northern California and 20 from Southern California. The team was then split into a first team and second team before heading out to the Memorial Day weekend festival.
Molly Fensterwald made the first team.
“The experience on the team was really nerve-wracking,” Molly Fensterwald said. “First competing against the best girls in the entire state to make the team, then going against really tough teams from New York, Massachusetts and Maryland in the Memorial Day tournament. We played the fifth best team from New York and they were extremely good.”
Five members of the championship Extreme team were selected to the league all-star teams: LaRocca, Ryan, Fensterwald, Royle and Bonnepart. Two members of a second Extreme high school team, which also competed in the league, also made the all-star team: Bridget Floyd (Santa Teresa) and Nicole Shay (Presentation).
This year also marks the first time several Extreme members will venture off to college to continue their lacrosse careers.
LaRocca is heading East, and star goalie Lappe will play at Division III Regis College in Denver, Colo.
For more information on the San Jose Extreme, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.