Coming off a junior season in which she racked up an area-leading 146 points, Besser Dyson embraced the challenge of a new role in the starting attack for the St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes girls’ lacrosse team this spring. Instead of playing almost exclusively in front of the goal, she has moved behind where she’s charged with setting up the offense, serving as the top-ranked Saints’ primary facilitator.
Through eight games, Dyson has proven a quick learner, continuing to pile up points at a rapid pace. After a strong showing on the team’s five-contest, spring-break trip to California, the University of Virginia recruit paces the area with 38 assists and has also added 12 goals.
“It’s a completely different game back there,” said Dyson, who had nine assists in a 19-7 win over Carondelet (Calif.) last week. “It’s more looking for the feed and dodging from the crease, which is a lot different than dodging from up top. It’s just kind of a different style of playing.”
A year ago, Liz Lavie (California) and Katie Austin (USC) handled most of the duties behind the net, combining for 104 assists. The pair could rely on Dyson and her classmate Carly Reed to create space in front. Dyson had 91 goals to become a second-team All-Met pick, while Reed scored 107 times en route to All-Met Player of the Year honors.
The Saints graduated Lavie, Austin and do-everything All-Met midfielder Michele Phillips (Notre Dame), but they haven’t missed a beat offensively in their perfect start.
Reed, who has also moved behind the goal at times, has 37 goals and six assists already and senior midfielder Margaret Tucker Fogarty (James Madison) has taken on an increased scoring load with 24 goals and five assists.
Coach Kathy Jenkins has long emphasized versatility from her seniors, believing it is important preparation for the college game. She credited Dyson, a four-year varsity player, for keeping the attack running smoothly in the face of the latest annual lineup shuffle.
“I think [Dyson] feels more comfortable attacking up top,” Jenkins said. “Her strength is off-ball movement, so she was very good at opening things up and getting the ball to people and cutting. Now she’s the one calling [the play] and setting it up. It’s something new, but I think she’s getting better and better.”
St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (8-0) is back in action on Wednesday, hosting neighborhood rival Episcopal at 4 p.m.