Girls Lacrosse: Ellena Schildmeyer was 'beast' for Golden Bears

DAVE PURPURA
dpurpura@thisweeknews.com
Upper Arlington's Ellena Schildmeyer, a Virginia recruit, finished her prep career with 77 goals and 42 assists. She was named an All-American and first-team all-state after her junior season.

Upper Arlington girls lacrosse coach Wendy Pinta has known Ellena Schildmeyer since the latter was in fourth grade and played for her in the Upper Arlington Lacrosse Association.

Schildmeyer immediately earned a varsity spot for the perennially successful Golden Bears upon reaching high school, yet even as the midfielder approached her junior season, Pinta admitted she had no idea what kind of output Schildmeyer had in store.

"She's always been such a hustler on the field, but to be able to bring both her athleticism and her skill together, especially on the draw circle, was something else," Pinta said. "She was a beast at getting (the ball) out of somebody else's stick and fighting for the ground ball. She put us in position virtually with every draw to have possession and that made a huge difference to our overall success."

A year ago, Schildmeyer put together one of the most well-rounded seasons Pinta could remember, recording 52 goals while leading UA in draw controls (153), ground balls (38) and caused turnovers (22) as the Bears won their fifth consecutive Division I state championship. Schildmeyer, a Virginia recruit who also had 12 assists, was named an All-American and first-team all-state.

As a result, Pinta expected an even more impactful senior year from Schildmeyer before the season was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"She's been such a strong leader on and off the field all four years and I thought she'd really take an even stronger leadership role this year as a two-time captain," Pinta said. "I've had very few players in my coaching career that play with the passion she brings to the game."

Schildmeyer finished her prep career with 77 goals and 42 assists.

Had she been named an All-American this season, she would have been the 11th two-time honoree in program history and first since her older sister, Olivia, in 2016 and '17.

"I worried a lot about my ball control, mostly, and my stick work coming into this season," Schildmeyer said. "As a team, we definitely worked a lot on shooting in general. We always focus on having our basic skills down so we don't have to worry about those within the game. They'll just come to us."

Although the state championship game had been scheduled for Saturday, June 6, at Ohio Wesleyan, Schildmeyer has had plenty to distract her from thinking about what could have been. In addition to finishing her academic requirements, she has served as a junior director for the Upper Arlington Civic Association -- a role in which she helps plan community events -- and even devised a half-marathon that ran through UA with the help of her older sisters, Anna and Olivia, over Mother's Day weekend.

Olivia is a sophomore at Virginia, where she plays lacrosse.

"Our parents (Jerry and Karri) were there at the finish line to cheer us on. It's a great way to stay in shape," said Ellena, who also played soccer for four years at UA.

Schildmeyer was one of six college recruits for the Bears this season, along with classmates Joey Fowler (defender, Indianapolis), Molly Kershner (defender, Wooster) and Riley Kuehn (attacker, Dickinson) and juniors Clara Gallapoo (midfielder, Lindenwood) and Annie Hargraves (midfielder, Ohio State).

"I knew coming into this year we had the chance to return to the state title game and I was capable of helping the younger girls," Schildmeyer said. "I felt my role was more leadership-based because, although I was a team captain and a leader last year, a lot of girls could make an impact."

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

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