PERRYSBURG — Senior Megan Gibbs led a young and talented Perrysburg basketball team to a shot at the Northern Lakes League title and tournament run halted in the districts by Division I regional finalist Springfield.
Now, Gibbs is doing the same with the Perrysburg girls lacrosse team, and she believes an NLL title is within reach.
Gibbs, who will play both basketball and lacrosse at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan next year, got to show off her lacrosse skills at Steinecker Stadium Tuesday.
Gibbs scored a double-hat trick six goals in leading the Yellow Jackets to a season-opening 12-5 NLL victory over Sylvania Northview. Gibbs says it is all about effort.
“It feels great to have this first win under us,” Gibbs said. “I feel like we can have a great season. All our energy and motto is, ‘Rocks 100 Percent’ — effort all the time and running on 110 percent.”
Perrysburg first-year coach Autumn Stevens believes that philosophy will play out well for this team.
“Our motto this year is to always come out 110 percent, and we have so many dynamic players when it comes down to seniors all the way to freshmen,” Stevens said.
Gibbs, a midfielder, was in the circle for all 19 draws, winning 12, including six straight to start the second half.
After winning the face-off, she goes straight into attack mode, often scoring or dishing to a teammate, or the draw is directed to a teammate, who scores.
“It’s important,” Gibbs said. “That initial possession — especially if you can win the first draw of the game, that’s an extra possession.
“It’s like saying, ‘We’re good, we got this.’ The draw, you just control the ball. The more you get it, the more you have it down on the offensive end, the more you can do.”
Stevens says she has other quality candidates who are good in the circle, but because of her athleticism, Gibbs has the job.
“It starts with the draw, and that is what I’ve been preaching,” Stevens said. “Winning the draws is going to win games.
“With Megan, (senior attack) Taytum (Lincoln) and ‘Shini’ (junior midfielder Harshini Bharadwaj), she needs to really come out and hit the ground running.
“She’s someone that, at the beginning of the season we may not have put in the circle, but she comes out and every time she has something for those three girls.
“They always take my advice and run with it. I absolutely love what they’ve done and their commitment to the team,” Stevens continued.
Northview closed the score to 5-3 just 41 seconds into the second half, but Gibbs won the draw and scored 11 seconds later to give the Jackets back their three-goal cushion. It began a 5-0 run that quickly put the game out of reach for the Wildcats.
Perrysburg senior attack Lauren Gorcz scored on a penalty shot 37 seconds later, putting the Jackets up 7-3 with 23:31 to play.
After Gibbs won the ensuing draw, junior midfielder Ariyah Ellis gathered in the ground ball and just four seconds after Gorcz’s goal, Ellis scored to put the Jackets up, 8-3.
After Ellis’ goal, Gibbs made sure the Jackets again got possession off the faceoff and Lincoln scored 26 seconds later.
Gibbs followed by taking possession of her own draw and scoring 13 seconds after Lincoln’s goal. marking five straight Perrysburg goals within one minute and 20 seconds. Gibbs had a hand in every single goal, plus she scored twice.
Lincoln scored four goals and Gorcz and Ellis had one goal apiece for Perrysburg, and junior midfielder Sara Yager had an assist, passing from behind the net to Lincoln, who scored Perrysburg’s final goal with 3:47 remaining.
As a result of Gibbs’ success at securing possessions, the Perrysburg defense saw only limited opportunities to actively get steals or ground balls. Lincoln led the Jackets with six ground balls and Gibbs had four.
Senior Sarah Gross led Northview with her own three-goal hat trick and sophomores Gabby Henderly and Kali Tsou scored one goal apiece.
Perrysburg outshot Northview, 23-12. Perrysburg senior goalie Autumn Brosnan had four saves and Northview senior Alexis Mason had eight saves.
Stevens said as her team’s season continues, the Jackets will find themselves forced more and more to set up plays in the opponents’ defensive zone, and she has the players to do that.
“Down on offense I’ve got Taytum Lincoln and Lauren Gorcz as our play callers, so they are the ones running our offense down there because their ‘lax IQ’ is just insane, so I love what they are doing for this team.”
Defensive starters like seniors Meagan Hilleary, Olivia Meinke, and Abby Robertson, while tested at times Tuesday, may find themselves more fully engaged, too.
“Our defense really turned out today, keeping the score down to five, and they are working hard,” Stevens said.
“The biggest thing we’ve worked on is midfield transitions are looking beautiful, in my opinion, but we are going to keep working on it.”