Player of the Year: Change in roles doesn’t stem Fusco’s success
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
June 22, 2013 12:35 AM | 2442 views | 0 0 comments | 100 100 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Johnna Fusco
<Br>Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
Johnna Fusco
Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
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MARIETTA — Johnna Fusco was a key member of Lassiter’s lacrosse team during her four years as a starter.

Last season, she helped guide the Lady Trojans to a 14-5 record and a state playoff berth, and concluded the year with 47 goals and 41 assists, to go along with her strong marks in ground balls, caused turnovers and draws.

However, without much discussion with coach Faith Harmeyer, Fusco’s role changed before her senior season. Instead of scoring a lot of goals, she was tasked with helping her teammates put the ball in the back of the net.

“We never really talked about my role going into the season as being more of a distributor,” Fusco said, “but it’s something that I like to do. I’m a team player, and when I see my teammates open, I throw it and trust in them to catch the ball and score.”

Fusco collected 48 goals and 71 assists as a result of the change in her responsibilities, which helped Lassiter go 15-6-1 on the year and reach the Class AAAAAA state finals.

“She’s been a contributor for us since her first day on the field,” Harmeyer said. “She evolved into a leader. Her skill set changed, as she was second on our team in goals this year, where she’s been leading the last three years, but she had 71 assists, which is unheard of.”

Fusco, who added 85 ground balls, 47 caused turnovers and 55 draw controls to her already impressive statistical totals, is the 2013 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year.

“I was really excited when I found out I was player of the year,” Fusco said. “This has always been a dream and goal of mine. Every year, I’ve seen someone else’s name and I was kind of disappointed, so I was really excited about finding out I finally got it.”

Fusco’s unselfish behavior contributed to Lassiter’s strong start and solid run through the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.

“I’m very aggressive playing,” she said. “I can score, but I like to pass more. Our offense needed that and needed that type of leadership, so I felt like I needed to take that into my hands. That was my role on the team.”

A first-team all-state selection, Fusco grew in ability and attitude since her freshman season.

“I was timid as a freshman,” she said. “I’ve definitely grown in my confidence. I always like to have the ball, so my speed and agility helps me out in the game.”

Fusco’s career numbers blossomed over time and she finished the season, and her high school career, as Lassiter’s all-time leader in goals (177), assists (163), points (340) and ground balls (310).

“She’s blasted all of the records that we have here at Lassiter,” Harmeyer said. “She’s set a very high bar and a very nice legacy. I think those records will stand for quite some time. She’s been a pleasure to coach and a lot of fun to watch.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of coaching that needed to be done with her, especially her senior year. I’m really proud of how she developed into a leader. I think that kind of rounded out her game this year.”

Fusco is proud of her accomplishments and of how Lassiter’s season turned out. The five games the Lady Trojans played in the Washington, D.C., area were especially helpful.

“It took a lot of determination and hard work, but it was a great season,” Fusco said. “Going to Washington, D.C., helped us a lot. Getting that kind of experience was great, because it was tougher up there and let us know how we should play.”

“I’ve gotten to go to the state finals twice in the past four years, so that’s a big accomplishment for me and my team. Hopefully, I’m remembered as someone who led our team to the finals and my determination and commitment to the game was easily seen.”

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