Cougar defense is strong as Oake

MHS girls’ lax has second straight win

By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
   Brittany Oake is one of those players who really enjoys playing defense.
   On Saturday, Oake and the rest of the Montgomery High School girls’ lacrosse defense played it about as well as they have all season. The effort was strong enough to lead the Cougars to a 9-4 win over West Windsor-Plainsboro High South, their second straight win.
   ”What we like to focus on is kind of a team defense,” said Oake, who along with her teammates held the Pirates to just two goals in each half. “So we work on dropping and collapsing and working together. We did that well today. I like playing defense. I got injured my junior year, so I wasn’t as fast as I used to be, so I played low defense. Now that I have my speed back, I am trying to convince my coach to move me up a little more.
   ”I like to play midfield, too. You don’t get your name in the paper for goals when you play defense, but I’d rather intercept a pass or get a check.”
   The Cougars received all the offense they needed from Julie DeMarco, who scored five goals in the game. Montgomery built an 8-1 lead just before halftime before the Pirates settled in and got a little closer in the second half.
   ”It seems like we play one good half, and then have an off half,” said Oake, a senior who plans to play at Washington and Jefferson next season. “I just want to get one full game where we are all on together at the same time. I want to have that one game where we can really shine.
   ”We’ve won two in a row now. We have a big game with Hillsborough coming up.”
   The defensive effort helped the Cougars to a second straight win after opening the season with four straight losses. If the defense continues to show improvement, it could be a sign of good things to come later in the year.
   ”This year there are only two of us who have been on the defense for a while with the varsity,” Oake said. “I came in as a freshman and Coach Trock taught me the defense. So every year I have been trying to get the younger girls to pick it up quicker. They seem like they are doing a good job of picking it up. They have impressed me with the way we can work as a team on defense.”
   Oake and senior Maggie Hare are playing with Rachel Martin, a sophomore, and Courtney Parks, a freshman, on defense. The unit has been coming together more and more each game.
   ”They’re reading each other well and they’re reading the play well,” Montgomery coach Tiffany Trockenbrod said. “I’m hoping that it continues to carry on.”
   Oake is just glad to have been a part of the program the last four years and know she will have the opportunity to continue the sport in college.
   ”My first year playing was in eighth grade with the rec program,” said Oake, who also played four years of field hockey at Montgomery. “My freshman year was Coach Trock’s first year, so we kind of started together. I didn’t know about the sport until my brother (Mike) started playing. He started in sixth grade and they only had boys’ lacrosse then. I started in eighth grade.”
   And she’s gotten better and better each year.
   For WW-P South, the second half went much smoother than the first half on Saturday. After digging themselves into an 8-1 hole, the Pirates battled back and got within 8-4 in the second half.
   ”We came out flat in the first half,” said WW-P South coach Brooke Parrott, whose team fell to 1-4 on the season. “I think if we had come out and played the way we did in the second half, it would have been a different outcome.
   ”We had a tough loss (Friday). Unfortunately, we were playing two people down into overtime because of yellow cards. The girls put forth the best effort I have seen this season and I know they will continue to build on it. Each game we get a little bit better.”
   The Pirates had to come back with a short turnaround after the overtime loss to Lawrence on Friday. By the time they got it together, they were in too deep a hole. But Parrott has seen signs that he team is making progress.
   ”Everyone works together tremendously,” she said. “We have a lot of promise. We have a lot of juniors, that’s our big class. We only have a few seniors. There is a lot of talent. They just need to continue to keep working.”