When the Carondelet High lacrosse team lost its first East Bay Athletic League game of the year -- 9-8 to Amador Valley -- it didn't sit well with junior attacker Erin Jeffery.
So in the rematch, she asserted herself as a dominant scorer and as a team leader, scoring the team's first seven goals, finishing with 11 and leading the Cougars to a 20-10 win. It avenged what turned out to be their only loss to a California team this season.
"The first time we played them, it wasn't pretty," Jeffery said. "The next time we knew we had to play better, and I came out strong, focused and I knew I had to score some early goals."
Because of the way she asserted herself, Jeffery has been selected as the girls lacrosse player of the year. She netted 107 goals in 23 games, led the Cougars to a second consecutive North Coast Section Division I title and was chosen as the EBAL's MVP.
Jeffery improved in every facet of the game, which is saying something considering she had 89 goals, 38 assists and 35 draws controlled in 2011. This season, she had 36 assists to finish with 143 points and won 73 percent of her draws to finish with 35.
"This year she stepped up and became more of an all-around player," said Carondelet coach Rick Jeffery, Erin's father. "I made her a captain as a junior and she took over that role very well. She's a leader and a difference-maker, and I think her taking on that leadership role is what is the difference."
Rick Jeffery has built a long-lasting bond with his daughter, and he has seen her improve first hand.
"I've been coaching her since fourth grade and we have a really good relationship," Rick Jeffery said. "She's always positive with my comments, and coaching her as a father and as a coach is a pleasure."
Jeffery knew she had to work hard between seasons. That work paid off in the section playoffs where she had 10 goals and five assists in three games.
"I worked hard on becoming a better fielder, with draw control especially," Jeffery said. "I realized what I needed to do to raise my game to the next level."
For Best of the Spring coach of the year stories and expanded capsules on the All-East Bay first team selections, visit www.contracostatimes.com/high-school-sports or www.insidebayarea.com/high-school-sports