Manuel making noise for Butler lacrosse
Lacrosse was a sport Liz Manuel didn't give a first thought to, let alone a second one, until her freshman year.
Just weeks before the girls lacrosse season was set to begin at Butler High, Manuel received a crosse as a gift.
She figured she might as well use it.
"Playing lacrosse never really came up," said Manuel, who also is a standout diver at Butler.
But once she started playing, lacrosse came easily to Manuel. As as sophomore, she scored 19 goals for the Golden Tornado.
This season, the junior already has 14 goals just five games into the season.
"I think I've gotten a lot more confident this year," Manuel said. "There's a stronger team around me and they are all very supportive and always cheering me on."
At 5-feet-1, Manuel often is the shortest player on the field and can easily slip under cross checks.
Manuel is keenly aware of how small she is, but she said it doesn't affect her play.
"It's sort of intimidating walking out there and always being the shortest one," Manuel said. "But I've always been the shortest, so I just try to make the most of it."
And she has. Her speed and field vision are exceptional.
"She'll cut and get to the open spot faster than anyone I've seen," said Butler coach Annie Succop. "What she is doing this season is not a surprise. We expected a lot out of her."
So does the opposition.
Manuel no longer is a great unknown in blue and gold. Other teams are noticing her goal scoring ability and are game planning against her.
Manuel finds that to be a compliment. Yet part of her also sees it as a source of frustration.
"Yeah, yeah, it can get that way sometimes," Manuel said. "It's always difficult when teams come out and say, 'Hey, we have to double-team her.' But that just opens things up for my teammates."
Butler is 2-3 a year after finishing 3-6 in the section.
The team's success makes Manuel prouder than any hat trick.
"I'm very happy about that," Manuel said. "We're not only good on the field, but we are good off the field. This team is so close."