2012 GIRLS LACROSSE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: NEWCOMER KRUEGER WASTED LITTLE TIME BECOMING A FORCE

by C. Jemal Horton

Hanna Krueger fired in 88 goals for Charlotte Country Day this spring. Photo courtesy of Scott Benson

When the 2011-12 school year began, Hanna Krueger was new to Charlotte Country Day School – and new to the South, for that matter.

Krueger and her mother, Ann, moved to the Queen City from Haingham, Mass., a suburb of Boston, where Krueger had been good enough to make the varsity lacrosse squad as a ninth-grader and become a key contributor as a sophomore.

It didn’t take her long to make an impact at Country Day, either.

In her first season in a Bucs uniform, Krueger was named a team captain by her peers and became one of the area’s most lethal scorers, totaling a whopping 88 goals to help Country Day reach the private-school state championship game. In addition, the standout junior earned a spot on the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association all-state team and received honorable mention for the US Lacrosse All-America squad.

Krueger also is Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2012 Southern Mecklenburg Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year.

Besides her 88 goals, Krueger contributed 46 assists, 93 groundballs, 63 draw controls and caused 26 turnovers for Country Day. Her busy statistical line was crucial for the Bucs, who were defending state champions but also lost a host of key starters to graduation and had just one senior on the roster.

“It actually helped having a really small team with a lot of new players – that kept it from being as scary (joining a new program) as I thought it would be,” Krueger said. “I got comfortable pretty quickly, and I guess they saw something in me to make me a captain. I took pride in that, and I just tried to go as hard as I could every practice and every game.”

Not that Krueger expected to score as much as she did. On her Massachusetts team, Krueger spent most of her time as a defender and facilitator.

“But it was fun to score this much,” she said with a laugh. “Eighty-eight goals was a dream. I’m still surprised. It was a lot different from how things were in Haingham.”

Krueger only spent the previous two years in Massachusetts. Before that, she spent 13 years in St. Louis, Mo., and developed a reputation as an accomplished horseback rider. But about five years ago, Krueger’s father, Roger, died, and she and her mother eventually moved to the Boston area. They chose to move to Charlotte because her mother has family here.

“And it’s much better for horseback riding,” said Krueger, who’s spending the summer in Virginia training for the North American Junior Young Rider Championships next month.

Krueger hasn’t abandoned her lacrosse training, though. On many weekends, she leaves Virginia to go play in club lacrosse tournaments and hone her skills. She does it with a purpose.

“We came so close to winning (the state title) this year, and I think we can do it next year,” she said. “Our goal is to win it by a lot of points, and we’re all working hard to make that happen.”

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