Shady Side Academy’s Lau, O’Connor earn lacrosse All-American honors
By: Karen Kadilak
Friday, July 5, 2019 | 6:05 PM
Shady Side Academy departing senior lacrosse player Emmie Lau topped a historic season with an impressive honor.
Lau, a midfielder, was named a US Lacrosse Girls’ High School All-American for Western Pennsylvania.
The 6-foot-1 Lau, who lives in Fox Chapel, scored 60 goals and had 14 assists. She led the Indians to their first WPIAL title.
The Indians lost in the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals.
“I am definitely proud to receive this honor,” said Lau, a Brown recruit. “I have looked up to a bunch of players who have received the same honor.
“I am happy to be considered part of their company.”
According to the US Lacrosse website, All-Americans are the best players in their area and exhibit superior skills and techniques, possess exceptional game sense and knowledge and embody good sportsmanship.
Players must be significant contributors to their teams. US Lacrosse oversees the selection of the awards.
Shady Side Academy coach Katy Phillips said Lau, a two-year captain, is a role model.
“Her goal to win a WPIAL championship for the first time in school history became infectious on this team,” Phillips said. “She got right behind our staff philosophy and brought the whole team on board.
“When you have a leader like that, that has the skill, but can create the glue, that’s what championship teams are made of. We will miss her like crazy.”
Brown coach Keely McDonald looks forward to seeing how Lau’s athleticism, work ethic, height and skill at the draw will impact the Bears.
“We can’t wait to start working with her,” McDonald said.
Shady Side Academy senior defender Ronan O’Connor was named a boys All-American despite missing part of the season because of injury.
“My role on the team for the last two years was not just as a player,” said O’Connor, a Hampton resident. “I was a captain for both years and felt that my biggest impact was not on the field, but rather on our team culture.
“During the games in which I was sidelined, I think coaches from the opposing teams felt my presence, even though I wasn’t playing.”
Shady Side Academy coach Cam Thompson said O’Connor, a Williams recruit, is the most impactful leader he has coached.
O’Connor said he gained respect from friends after receiving the award.
“Knowing that you’re in an exclusive club not just in Pittsburgh, but in the whole country, is crazy,” O’Connor said.
North Allegheny senior defender Antonio O’Barto was named an All-American after a rare achievement.
O’Barto, a Stevenson recruit, posted 99 ground balls, which Tiger coach John Rullan said is unheard of for a defender.
“He’s a hard worker (and) one of these guys who loves to work out,” Rullan said. “(He is) maybe 170, 180 pounds, but he’ll put crazy weight off the charts he can lift.”
Thompson said O’Connor is relentless in the weight room, as well. Shady Side Academy and North Allegheny lost in the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals.