Amador Valley High girls lacrosse players Cambi Cukar and Evan Murphy are dedicated student-athletes and good friends, from dawn to dusk.

Soon, they'll both be going from Dons to Ducks.

Cukar and Murphy will be signing a National Letter of Intent with Oregon this week, among an impressive group of six Amador Valley girls lacrosse players signing with Division I schools.

The Dons' other signees are Hannah Stapp, with Cal; Allie DaCar, Stanford; Mollie Grozier, Marquette; and Madison Steele, Fresno State.

Foothill's Lindsey Kail is also signing with Oregon, meaning Pleasanton is sending a bumper crop of seven stick-toting female lacrosse stars to the next level.

"It's exciting, definitely," Cukar said, looking ahead to the 2014-15 school year. "It's hard to imagine it because we're not at the school yet ... It's very exciting, surreal to think that we're going to be there in a matter of months almost. It's definitely a big transition from high school lacrosse."

Still a relatively new sport in the North Coast Section, the first lacrosse section champions were crowned in 2004, lacrosse is providing boys and girls with another viable college opportunity.

All of the aforementioned Pleasanton signees -- The Magnificent Seven, if you will -- are Pleasanton Girls Lacrosse Club alums who compete for BearLax, a powerful club headed by former Cal coach Theresa Sherry.


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The BearLax website lists 18 players from the class of 2013 who moved on to Division I or Division II schools. Among them are 2012 EBAL Player of the Year, Erin Jeffery, of Carondelet, who is at Hofstra University; Tess Kevorkian, of San Ramon Valley, who is at UC Davis; and Ashlynn Goerz, of Monte Vista, who is at Stanford.

The whole Dons group has a special camaraderie because they all practice, compete, study, and socialize together. They've been together since the fourth or fifth grade.

Now it's all coming together for everyone.

"It's really like playing with all my best friends," said Cukar, a deft passer in the crease from the attack position. "We've been playing together so long, and it's probably why we all got our scholarships, because we've all been together in school and in club, and we all hang out together. It's all about teamwork and friendship, and everything."

Murphy, a Dons midfielder, said it will be"cool" to continue with Cukar and Kail at Oregon.

"It's definitely a cool experience to continue the friendship and the togetherness in college," Murphy said. "We have such a strong bond, and I definitely feel like it will transition into our college game. Also, it's cool to have something to fall back on that you already know, and you already have a friend with you. It's kind of like a relief since you're playing in a different state."

However, before they all run off to college, Amador Valley has some unfinished business. The Dons have finished second to Carondelet in the last two North Coast Section Division I playoffs.

They are determined to earn the program's second-ever NCS title in the spring season.

"I don't want to be too confident, but I definitely think that's going to happen this year," Cukar said. "They did lose a lot of their key players. They were all older than us. We played them in club, and I just think we're going to beat them out this year."

PACK RUNNING: Cross-country running can be a beautiful thing when a pack of runners works together harmoniously toward a common objective. Amador Valley's girls squad achieved that objective at the EBAL meet on Nov. 8 at Shadow Cliffs. The Dons' first four finishers placed ninth through 12th en route to the team title. They were led by Kim Sannajust (ninth, 18:52.66) and Melodie Leroudier (10th, 19:19.54). Likewise, the Amador boys team took second place with no runner in the top eight. Zach Beston led the Dons in ninth.

Contact Matt Schwab at mschwab@bayareanewsgroup.com, or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/schwab_matt.

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