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Archive for January 21, 2020

Jan. 21, 2020 — Coach of the Decade: Chris Robinson, Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) and Orlando Lake Highland Prep (Fla.)

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The decade of the 2010s ended just as it began: with Chris Robinson steering a girls’ lacrosse team to a championship.

But the two title-winners were 900 miles apart — one in suburban Baltimore, one of the cradles of the sport; and the other a mile from Orlando’s city hall, in a quickly-developing area for lacrosse.

To understand Robinson’s decade, it’s necessary to understand his career arc and his impact on girls’ scholastic lacrosse.

Chris Robinson had a hand in two of the longest unbeaten streaks in the history of the game. One was the first few years of the 105-game unbeaten streak for Ellicott City Mount Hebron (Md.), and the other was the first 177 out of the 198-game win streak for Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.).

In a move that surprised many in the lacrosse community in 2018, Robinson moved to Florida and latched onto Lake Highland Prep. The chemistry was immediate.

“Coaching at LHP definitely was a life changing event that recharged my batteries,” Robinson says. “This group was special because they had not won anything before. This community wanted a lacrosse championship for the girls so badly.”

Robinson, with a 23-2 record his first season at the helm in the spring of 2019, won the Florida state final with an 11-6 win over Palm Beach Benjamin (Fla.).

For Robinson, there is a simple formula, and it all starts with getting the center draw. He has been blessed with a number of great centers over the years, such as Maddie and Olivia Jenner and Taylor Cummings, but he cites the other facet of winning the draw: the scramble to win the ball in the midfield.

“If a team is going to beat us on talent or skill that is fine,” Robinson says. “But there is no excuse for a team to outhustle us.”

But what also has been a hallmark of Robinson-coached teams is the ability to learn. On Feb. 23, 2019, Robinson lost his first game as coach in the decade of the 2010s, a 17-8 loss to Delray American Heritage (Fla.). A few weeks later, when the teams met in the FHSAA semifinals, the Highlanders pulled out a 10-6 win, setting up the their championship final a few days later.

“To win a championship in a different state away from a lacrosse hotbed was really special,” Robinson says. “Having a Florida team that beat some national powers and ended up 4th in the nation in the Inside Lacrosse end of season rankings was so exciting.”

But as with all things in high-school sports, the work begins anew. In one week, tryouts for the girls’ lacrosse team at LHP begin.