If Mill Creek was going to fall to Lassiter in the Class 6A-7A semifinals last May, it wasn’t happening on Sara Grieco’s watch.
Then a junior forward for Mill Creek, Grieco provided a brace that gave Mill Creek a 3-1 lead early in the game. The Hawks fell behind 5-3 and Grieco made it back-to-back goals to pull Mill Creek within one goal, but Lassiter scored again just before halftime.
Mill Creek trailed by as many as four goals in the game but rallied to a 9-8 lead in the second half. It was Lassiter’s final push, though, that was too big a blow for the Hawks to stop. The Trojans led 12-9 when Grieco tried to will Mill Creek back with one last goal. Mill Creek’s 2018 season ended just short of a state championship berth.
Grieco, a 2018 all-state first-teamer and Lindenwood University commit, ended her senior season with 52 goals for the Hawks while sharing the majority of the offensive load with two other teammates, Lyndsey Lewis and Brooke Beverly. Since Beverly transferred to Lassiter, Grieco and Lewis will take up duties to supply Mill Creek’s offense with goals and ensure the Hawks don’t slump during their senior seasons.
Scoring goals, after all, is what Grieco does best. In the ninth year of Mill Creek girls lacrosse, head coach Brian Williamson said Grieco is perhaps the best shooter of any player he’s coached.
“She has the best stick by far of anybody we’ve ever had, and we’ve had some really good players,” Williamson said.
Grieco comes from a family of talented attackmen. Her older brother Edward Grieco graduated from Mill Creek in 2016 and her twin brother William — Willie to her — is a senior team captain and Wingate University commit.
Grieco started playing lacrosse shortly after her brothers began in elementary school. She spent time with them and neighborhood kids shooting on goals in their backyard. It developed her into a sharpshooter with enough control of her stick to fire accurate shots from different slots — overhead, under, side-arm, behind-the-back.
It’s also developed a rivalry between siblings centered around who can score the most goals.
“My whole family plays attack,” Grieco said. “We just like to shoot.”
She wishes she could play box lacrosse, but it’s only offered to boys players. That wouldn’t intimidate her since she grew up playing with boys anyway. Her parents, however, deemed it too dangerous.
Grieco was constantly consuming lacrosse and drilling — even if it was a casual backyard shootaround — with her brothers and she started to notice she was making strides as a young player when she attended more and more camps. By herself, even, she was practicing recovering rebounds or finding brick walls to pass the ball to and catch it on the return. Grieco and Lewis, last year’s Player of the Year, started playing together on Mill Creek’s eighth-grade team when they were both sixth-graders.
Grieco and Lewis signed their national letters of intent on the same day in November 2018. Grieco will join a Lindenwood women’s team that went 19-1 last year, its only loss in the national championship tournament to Regis University.
She has the potential to make a significant offensive impact on a program that is already a powerhouse in NCAA Division II lacrosse, but she has one last mission to accomplish at Mill Creek.
The Hawks lost seven seniors from its semifinal team, mostly on defense. The returning starters, Grieco said, are experienced. She also expressed her confidence in the new class of starters she will help usher in. It’s also the last season for Grieco and Lewis to play together after playing on the same team each year since they were fourth-graders.
“(Last year’s semifinal was) very disappointing because that last game was very tight,” Grieco said. “Seeing how close the championship was, means we could have been that close.”