St. John’s senior Sabrina Leatherwood’s goalie mask prominently features three images: The cartoon character Stitch from “Lilo and Stitch” playing the ukulele; the German flag, which is an homage to her grandmother; and the Dutch word “sterkte,” which translates to strength, as an ode to her grandfather.
“I just wanted to really reflect my personality and important people in my life,” she said.
Leatherwood may have the mask of an ice hockey veteran, but four years ago, she and the majority of St. John’s girls varsity squad had never played the sport before. “We would have practices at 10 at night, it was just the worst ice slots,” Leatherwood said. “But I just think everyone kind of bonding and being there for each other made it all worth it.”
So has the team’s success. The Cadets currently sit atop the MAGHL white division’s standings, thanks in part to Leatherwood’s transition from skater to goalie last season.
Leatherwood is headed to Old Dominion as a goalkeeper in lacrosse, and some skills transitioned easily to the new position, like the hand-eye coordination necessary to track the puck.
Other skills came with more difficulty. “There’s a lot more up and down in hockey and having to push across with your legs, where in lacrosse it’s a little easier to move around side to side,” Leatherwood said. “I would trip up all the time, my skates would get stuck, and it was frustrating at first.”
As the team has improved since its start four years ago, so has Leatherwood, and the team’s success has drawn in more girls to the team, including a talented freshman class. “It’s incredible to see how we’ve progressed from a team where it was mostly no one knew how to do anything, to a bunch of experienced players,” Leatherwood said.
Here are this week’s top 10 rankings.
1. Georgetown Prep (9-1-1) Last ranked: 2
The Little Hoyas scored a win over Landon and tied O’Connell last week. A game versus St. Albans awaits on Friday night.
2. DeMatha (15-6-1) LR: 1
The Stags fell to St. John’s, 3-2, and will face Wootton and Calvert Hall this week.
3. Marriotts Ridge (8-1) LR: 3
The Mustangs scored 11 goals against an opponent for the fourth consecutive week in a win over River Hill. They get a quick break before having the chance to take their winning streak to 10 games against Churchill next Monday.
4. Chantilly (8-1) LR: 4
Behind two goals from Michael Peak, the Chargers took down Oakton, 4-1. They have a break until Feb. 8, when they face Centreville/Fairfax.
5. St. John’s (10-4-1) LR: 7
The Cadets scored a huge 3-2 win over DeMatha, extending their win streak to three games. They’ll try to make it four over Gonzaga.
6. T.C. Williams (7-2) LR: 6
The Titans are on a break until Feb. 8 when they face W.T. Woodson.
7. Gonzaga (9-5-1) LR: 5
The Eagles fell to DeMatha, 5-3. despite a furious third-period rally. They play St. John’s Wednesday night.
8. O’Connell (7-5-3) LR: 8
After falling to DeMatha, the Knights pulled out a 0-0 tie with 12 players against Georgetown Prep, thanks to a 45-save shutout from Matthew McCarey.
9. Yorktown (6-2) LR: 9
The Patriots come back from their break Friday evening when they face McLean.
10. Washington-Lee (6-2) LR: 10
The Generals won’t play again until Feb. 1, when they take on seven-loss GM/Edison/Hayfield.
On the bubble: Severna Park, Churchill, Wootton