PSHS girls’ lacrosse checks into 2024 with winning streak

The year 2020 wasn’t a good time to launch a high school girls’ lacrosse program. Just ask Philip Simmons coach Beth Smiley.
But Smiley and her squad persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic and are quickly becoming a force in the Palmetto State. 
The Iron Horses opened the 2024 season with seven victories in seven games. They outscored foes 125-27.
“We started in 2020 with a junior varsity team,” Smiley said. “The girls had a lot of enthusiasm, potential and talent. But we had to shut it down.”
The Iron Horses did manage to post a 3-0 junior varsity record before calling it a season in ’20. But the team moved forward.
The Iron Horses fielded a junior varsity and varsity team in 2021, and the varsity posted a 2-10 record. The Iron Horses showed improvement the following year, winning seven games against 10 losses despite losing two key players to season-ending injuries.
Last spring, the Iron Horses finally finished on the positive side of .500 with a 14-4 record, reaching the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
This season has been nothing but a success.
“We are doing very well,” Smiley said. “The competition in the area has been up and down, so you never know. The girls are coming together. We have eight seniors on the team, and it’s great to watch them, to see where they started and where they are today.”
Smiley is in her 34th year as a lacrosse coach.
“I tell people I started coaching when I was 2 years old,” Smiley said. “But this isn’t about me. It’s about the players. I am proud of the way they have developed.
“They’ve done the work, made the sacrifice and have accepted the challenge. They have come together and have each other’s backs. The best thing about this group is they work well as a team.”
Smiley is from New Jersey where lacrosse is a way of life. But she never participated in the sport until she attended college in Pennsylvania.
She turned out to be a good player and an excellent coach.
The Iron Horses have eight seniors on the team, but several younger players have stepped up, including sophomore Jolie Mello, who already owns the school record with 82 career goals in just a season and a half.
“She’s intense and passionate about the game,” Smiley said. “She wants every player to elevate their game. She just loves lacrosse.”
Mello isn’t the only record holder on the roster. Senior Maddy Preston owns Iron Horse records with 55 career assists and 126 draw controls.
Juniors Hannah Patterson and Olivia Terry both went over 100 forced turnovers in their careers, as well.
The team gets its leadership from four captains: Emmy Wood, Gianna Phillips, Megan McQuade and Preston.
The rest of the team includes Sydney Hebebrand, Adyson Manocchio, Gianna Piscopal, Schoene Stechmesser, Audrey Ann Porter, Betsy Smith, Lane Bredemann and Savannah Gasperson.
Playoffs begin April 16, and the state championship is slated for April 27.

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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