By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
SPRINGFIELD – Four years ago, Audrey Ubernosky entered Effingham County High School filled with versatile athleticism and open-minded enthusiasm.
In middle school, she had run track and played basketball.
But with a little prodding from her friend Rachel Franks, Audrey began thinking outside the running lanes and past the end lines.
The two girls were thinking lacrosse.
“Rachel was like, ‘Hey, you want to try out this new sport?’ And I was, ‘Okay, I’ll try it out,’” Ubernosky recalled.
Four years later, the 5-foot-4 senior saw her whim to play lacrosse blossom into an opportunity to continue her newfound passion at Shorter University, a Division II school in Rome, Georgia.
Ubernosky, a midfielder, is the first ECHS girl to sign a letter of intent to play college lacrosse. She held her signing party for friends and family on March 15.
“I think it’s the competitiveness of the game and how fast-paced it can be,” she said. “I’m fast, so I like the game.”
Girls’ lacrosse started in Georgia as an open event in 2005 and the Georgia High School Association began recognizing champions in different classifications in 2010.
ECHS started its lacrosse program and joined a region with local upstart girls’ teams in 2020 – Ubernosky’s freshman year. The season was cut short because of the threat of COVID, but her appetite for the sport grew and she began playing year-round in club competition.
“Audrey embraced lacrosse and put in work outside of practice to improve,” Rebels coach Amber Roe said. “Because of COVID, her sophomore year was really her first year so she’s come a long way in just three years.”
As a sophomore, Ubernosky was the Rebels’ Offensive Player of the Year and last year she was the team’s MVP.
Roe called Ubernosky, ‘The Ground Ball Queen” for her ability to scoop balls off the turf to begin possessions for the ECHS attack.
According to limited team statistics reported on MaxPreps, Ubernosky leads Class 5A-6A Area 7 with 3.9 ground balls a game.
In seven games, she has 11 goals and 5 assists, earning hat tricks (three goals in one game) against Grovetown and Savannah Christian during the team’s recent four-game winning streak.
“At the beginning of the season, we had a hard time working together but after the third game we’ve been on the same page. We’ve had more assists, so we’ve been doing better,” Ubernosky said.
She said she learned about Shorter University’s program while attending a lacrosse camp on campus in the offseason. She said Coach Laura Jordan has been building the team through recruiting.
“I met some of the team and I liked Coach Jordan,” Ubernosky said. “When I went for my visit, the team was very welcoming. It’s a great opportunity.”
Ubernosky, who sports a 4.0 grade-point average, said she plans to major in psychology eventually leading to a job as a child therapist.