Consistency was hard to come by in one of Utah’s most unpredictable and chaotic spring sports seasons in recent memory, so the three athletes tabbed as this year’s Deseret News Girls Lacrosse Players of the Year had to manage the flow on their own and come prepared, anytime, anywhere.
As Utah wraps up its third season of sanctioned lacrosse, with many players now seeing their entire high school careers in the sport, these three players survived an ever-improving field of competition to be the best.
Lone Peak’s Maddie Potvin (3) shoots the ball during the 6A girls lacrosse championship at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on May 25, 2023.
6A Player of the Year
Maddie Potvin, Lone Peak, Sr.
The girl who would be the crown jewel of 6A girls lacrosse in Utah didn’t actually start out in Utah to begin with, but Lone Peak senior Maddie Potvin stood alone atop the mountain by spring’s end.
Potvin, who played both attack and midfield for the Lone Peak Knights, came to Utah at 12 years of age from Andover, Massachusetts, and Lone Peak coach Weslie Lundell said she brought her lacrosse chops with her. Once she became a Knight, she hit a whole new level of “great.”
“Once she entered the high school scene, she just continued to improve, learn and grow, not only as a player but as a teammate and person as well,” Lundell said.
Potvin tied for second in all of 6A in goals scored with 62 and was top 10 in assists with 19. On the defensive side, she forced an astounding 22 ground balls and caused 10 turnovers.
In the most important and final game of her high school career, Potvin scored two goals, dished an assist, and most importantly, helped Lone Peak claim its first lacrosse state title.
“As Maddie’s coach, I’ve had the blessing of watching her truly mature into an incredible young woman,” Lundell said. “She has such a love for this life and can find joy in the simplest of things. She’s also an outstanding student; always receiving top marks each semester. (She’s) been a light to this team and this program.”
Potvin did not accept any NCAA scholarships. She will continue playing club lacrosse at the University of Utah in the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates (WCLA).
Brighton’s Alexandra Heugly pushes Olympus’s Eva Thorn as she drives up the field in a 5A girls lacrosse semifinal game at Westminster College in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
5A Player of the Year
Eva Thorn, Olympus, Sr.
Before Eva Thorn showed up in a green jersey, the Olympus Titans had never seen the field of a lacrosse championship game. By the time she graduated, they’d been there twice and took one of those trophies home with them.
“She is tenacious, has great happy energy, with a work ethic rivaled by few,” Olympus coach Zana Spratling said.
Before lacrosse was even a UHSAA sport, Thorn was already a starter at the club level, her coach said. She started all three years for the Titans and was a captain her junior and senior year.
Thorn finished the season with 72 goals, tied for the most in 5A, and added 15 assists to it. On defense, she forced 32 ground balls and caused 17 turnovers. She was the anchor of an offense that scorched most of 5A en route to an undefeated regular season and a second straight title game appearance.
“(She is) constantly striving to better herself and those around her,” Spratling said. “Olympus is going to miss her dearly. As a coaching staff and team, we are so incredibly proud of all she has and all she will continue to achieve.”
Thorn has committed to play lacrosse at Stony Brook University in New York.
Juan Diego’s Olivia Prosper was voted the Deseret News 4A girls lacrosse Player of the Year.
Provided by Piere Prosper
4A Player of the Year
Olivia Prosper, Juan Diego, So.
Juan Diego plays in 3A in just about every other sport in the state, so punching up to 4A for lacrosse was always going to be a challenge.
The Soaring Eagle rose well to that challenge this season, fighting all the way to the state semifinals in no small part thanks to the unstoppable scoring hurricane that was Olivia Prosper.
As just a sophomore, Prosper lit up defenses every single game and led all classifications in scoring by a ridiculous margin. She finished with an absurd 110 goals scored, a mark that not only led the state, but is also 12th highest in the country.
By comparison, the second-most goals scored by a single player in the entire state was 73.
Although that was easily the most eye-popping stat that kept opposing teams’ attention, her impact on the program made Juan Diego rise to new heights and surge miles ahead of its trajectory in developing a very young program.
“Juan Diego had 10 new players on the team with less than six weeks of experience,” Soaring Eagle coach Shaun Judd said. “Olivia played a critical part with the team as a young captain in sharing the lacrosse passion as well as sharing the ball with the new players during games. Olivia knows it takes a team to win a championship.”
Prosper’s leadership showed in the fact that her prolific scoring ability went alongside the fifth-highest assist total in the state with 29. Judd noted that Prosper was the kind of player who frequently stayed on the field after practices and just kept working on her craft.
Judd is particularly proud of who Prosper is off the field. The sophomore phenom, who was the only 4A player and the only sophomore to be one of the 12 players honored at the Deseret News High School Sports Awards, is also a two-timer on the Dean’s List and was recognized for achievement in math at Juan Diego.