Once they took the field, Rachel Fong, Madeline Heeg and Kim Foster had defined roles that they fulfilled impressively.
Each provided a dimension that helped them stand out and shape the foundation for their squads. Fong enjoyed plenty of success on the Glendale High girls’ lacrosse team, as did Heeg and Foster at Crescenta Valley.
The trio headlined a list of local players bestowed with All-Pacific League honors, as Fong and Heeg were selected the league’s co-offensive players of the year and Foster was tabbed co-defensive player of the year as voted on by the league’s five coaches.
Fong, a junior midfielder, contributed 74 goals, 46 assists and 100 ground balls to help the Nitros win the league championship for the first time since 2014. Glendale (16-4, 4-0 in league) advanced to the second round of the U.S. Lacrosse L.A. Division playoffs.
“I play on my club team and we went over ways to become a more complete player,” Fong said. “You just try to get your teammates more involved in the games and you do what you can.
“I went out there and found ways to score goals. Winning league was cool and I don’t even think we were expecting to win it. To get an honor like this is something special.”
Glendale coach Joe Campbell said Fong displayed an admirable attitude toward building an even stronger work ethic.
“She’s concerned about getting to the highest level she possibly can,” Campbell said. “She’ll continue to get better.
“Rachel’s numbers speak for themselves. Not many teams could stop her. You could always count on her to put up a big effort in the biggest games.”
Heeg registered 33 goals as a senior midfielder for Crescenta Valley (10-5, 3-1 for second place).
Heeg spent extra time following practice honing her skills.
“I personally believe that to get better at anything you have to give up your free time to practice,” Heeg said. “So, I would go on runs and throw the ball around on weekends and before practice and take any opportunity to play the game.
“Lacrosse has been the highlight of my high school experience and has shaped who I am today. It makes me happy to know that I had an impact on the sport.”
Crescenta Valley coach Boz Crowther said Heeg proved to be an exemplary leader for the Falcons throughout her four-year career.
“Through her hard work, you could see her improvement right away,” Crowther said. “Maddie went out there and did so many things well.
“She’s got a terrific shot and it’s really great to see her be recognized like that.”
Foster was the backbone for the Falcons on defense and often served as the quintessential shut-down defender. She shared defender of the year with West Ranch’s Abi Jin.
“There’s nothing better than being able to contribute on defense,” said Foster, a senior. “It just comes natural for me to play defense and helping your team be successful.”
Crowther said Foster exceeded expectations anchoring the defensive unit.
“She’s an unstoppable force and inmoveable object all rolled into one back there,” Crowther said. “She understands the game situations and has that great field awareness.”
Six local athletes picked up first-team accolades. Eight players received second-team recognition and two received honorable mention.
Xcaret Salvador, Lili Barker and Erika Lopez of Glendale and Crescenta Valley’s Peyton Marshall, Lexi Ballard and Audrey White were named to to the first team.
Salvador, a junior midfielder, contributed 69 goals, 19 assists and 82 ground balls.
“Xcaret goes out there and makes everybody around her better,” Campbell said. “She’s got fantastic energy at practice and in the games.”
Barker, a junior, finished with 194 saves and 48 caused turnovers in her first season as a goalkeeper.
“Lily made a lot of big saves and she got comfortable playing goalie as the season went along,” Campbell said. “She was comfortable handling the ball and she caused a lot of turnovers in the process.”
Lopez, a senior midfielder, recorded 50 goals, 12 assists and 40 ground balls.
“The thing with Erika is that she’s an unselfish player and a great playmaker,” Campbell said. “She’s another great option to have out there.”
Marshall notched 23 goals and 18 assists as a junior attacker.
“Peyton worked hard at developing her shot from anywhere in the crease,” Crowther said. “She’s got that hard, accurate shot and she came through for us a lot of times.”
Ballard, a junior attacker, contributed 29 goals and eight assists.
“Lexi always has that ability to get to the right place and score,” Crowther said. “She knows how to settle down and run the offense affectively.”
White, a junior, also helped shape Crescenta Valley’s defense.
“She is probably the best one-on-one defender I’ve seen in high school lacrosse,” Crowther said. “Audrey knew how to shut down her opponents and take the ball away.”
Glendale’s Jasmin Contreras, Stephanie Herrera, Aliyah Massey and Zoe Charum and Lizzie Hales, Brooke Bell, Allie Foster and Maya Sheklow of Crescenta Valley were selected to the second team.
Contreras, a junior midfielder, had 14 goals and 43 ground balls. Herrera, a senior defender, had five goals. Massey collected four goals and 14 ground balls as a senior defender. Charum, a sophomore midfielder, registered seven goals and 20 ground balls.
Hales contributed 19 goals as a junior midfielder. Bell, a junior defender, had three goals. Foster finished with 20 goals and seven assists as a sophomore midfielder and Sheklow stood out as a sophomore defender.