As the season comes to a close, the Exeter High School girls’ lacrosse team could finish undefeated for the second time in three years. The Lady Eagles 10-0 with two games remaining on the schedule.
Led by senior Morgan Stump, the Eagles hope to avenge last season’s semifinal round loss to Governor Mifflin in the Berks League playoffs after going undefeated in the regular season.
“It was heartbreaking to see all that hard work result in a playoff loss,” said Stump. “It’s definitely an incentive this season. We have to prove our place in the county because we lost last year. We want to get back on top where whe were my sophomore season.
Stump is certainly doing her part. She leads the team in points with 88 (43 goals and 45 assists). Not only does she lead the team in points, but the league as well. Her nearest competitior is teammate Hailey Leister who has 75 goals (way more than anyone else in the league) and eight assists.
“I feel I’m playing pretty well right now,” said Stump. “We’re playing a new set offense we’re incorporating this year. So far it’s going well. As a team we’re able to go with the flow so it hasn’t been that hard to learn it.
“As a team we’re pretty confident right now. We’re focused on working as a team. Our goals are set high and we’re working toward those goals.”
Of course the first goal is to win the Berks League title and put last year’s playoff loss behind them. After that, they just want to go as far in the post-season playoffs as they can go.
As one of the team captains (Emily Larson being the other), Stump is both a leader by example and a vocal leader. Her energy keeps her going at 110% all of the time, both during games and at practice. Her teammates see how hard she works at her game, not matter how successful she it, she keeps working at getting better.
Her goal is to make sure all over her teammates give that same effort. She will accept nothing less from them,” said Morgan.
“I like to lead by example on the field, but I’ll be vocal at practice. I like to encourage people and push them to always give 110%.”
Overall, the team has lost just one game, a non-legue 19-11 setback against Cumberland Valley on April 15. Undaunted, the Eagles when their next five games, outscoring their opponents in those five game, 67-37.
“We lost a tough one to Cumberland Valley,” said Stump. “We’re not going to beat ourselves up over a loss like that. We know we played a great team. We’re still confident and ready to go. The very next game we played well and that shows the morale of this team. We can take a loss and come back like we did. It was a reality check for us. It showed us we still have more to do and learn.”
The biggest game for the Lady Eagles is coming up on May 2 at Wilson. The Bulldogs’ lone loss this season came against Exeter, 14-12. The Eagles were behind 6-2 at one point, but never got down on themselves. They came roaring back thanks to four goals from stump and eight by Leister.
A win against the Bulldogs will clinch a division and another undefeated season.
Stump has been a big part of this team since her freshman season. She was a starter for that team and it didn’t take long for her to make an impact.
“My freshman season was eye opening,” said Stump. “It was a totally different game at the high school level, but I had great teammates who helped me become the player I am today. It took a few weeks to get comfortable, but once I learned that my teammates had my back and would support me, that’s when I got confident.”
Morgan learned the game from her father, who played lacrosse in high school and in in college, and is now the Exeter High School boys’ lacrosse coach.
“My father taught me the basics and how to be a team player,” said Morgan. “He’s definitely been the biggest influence on me.”
Her confidence and work ethic has certainly rubbed off on the rest of the team. As a result, they are just a couple steps away of getting another Berks League championship. They have the skill and the motivation to get there, now they just have to go out there and do it.
Stump will be attending Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina in the fall. She has decided not to play lacrosse there but the coach as told her that she can try out as a walk on if she changes her mind. She says that it’s a possibility, but right now she wants to concentrate more on the academic side of college.
She will major in marketing and become a sports agent, or do something in the sports world.