By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/25/19
Whether it was scoring big goals, winning the key draw controls or simply being a leader, there was little doubt as to what Olivia Dirks could do on the lacrosse field.
But Episcopal Academy coach Josie Tomaino said there was even more that others didn’t see that has made Dirks such a special player.
“Clearly, Olivia’s lacrosse skills and physical skills are outstanding,” said Tomaino. “But it’s her field sense and ability to read the game that sets her apart from her peers.
“Her teammates respect her knowledge of the game and her ability to work hard and effectively when the game is on the line.”
In 2019, Dirks was a dominant force for an EA team that won the Inter-Ac League outright championship and went 18-1, earning a national ranking most of the year. For her accomplishments, Dirks has been named the Girls’ Co-Player of the Year (shared with Harriton’s Allie Schwab) by Phillylacrosse.com.
Dirks, a Penn State signee, finished the year with 82 goals, 18 assists, an an amazing 186 draw controls. She was named the Inter-Ac MVP and a US Lacrosse All-American as well as an Under Armour All-American.
Led by Dirks, EA remained undefeated until the final game when it fell to Penn Charter. But its biggest accomplishment was sweeping both of its Inter-Ac rival powers, Academy of Notre Dame and Agnes Irwin.
“It (the title) had gone back and forth the last few years,” said Dirks. “The Inter-Ac has some great teams and we knew if we wanted to win the Inter-Ac we really had to push ourselves in practice and keep getting better every day.”
Dirks said the toughest challenge was beating Notre Dame and Agnes Irwin a second time. EA downed ND, 11-7, and Agnes Irwin, 13-10, in their first meetings and then edged ND, 11-9, and AI, 12-11, in tight rematches.
“We knew we had to change things up and be very versatile on attack,” Dirks said. “We had a ton of options and our defense was super solid. We had to be ready for anything because we knew we had targets on our backs and we had to work harder to do whatever it took to win.”
Dirks said she embraced taking on a key role in leadership, one she shared with Izzy Rohr and other seniors.
“I think we had a lot of leaders,” she said. “It was a strong senior class and the leaders were spread out throughout the year. That made the team come together as one.
“We all knew each other’s strengths and played for each other, which made our team very successful.”
Concluded Tomaino: “We could always count on Olivia to execute: whether it was winning the draw, coming up with the caused turnover on defense, transitioning through the 30s, or scoring on attack … she truly has done it all for our program.
“Olivia has set the bar incredibly high here at Episcopal Academy. She is by far one of the best players I have ever coached.”
Tags: Episcopal Academy