Unstoppable Maddie Dora Named USA Lacrosse South Player of the Year

Milton (Ga.) High School girls’ lacrosse coach Tim Godby has seen many great players during the Eagles’ run of 14 titles in the last 16 full seasons.

When he speaks about senior attacker Maddie Dora, Godby says she is one of the best to come through the program, which has produced dozens of Division I college prospects over the years.

Dora isn’t just one of the top Milton players. She’s among the best in the South. Two years after Milton’s Bri Carrasquillo won regional player of the year, Dora has kept the 2021 honors with Milton. Dora is the USA Lacrosse South Player of the Year.

“She has worked hard to develop the skills and being a versatile player, being able to use her right and left hands, playing high attack, low attack, right side, left side,” Godby said. “We played all over the place, so she had to work hard to develop her skills, but she is naturally gifted with her athleticism. You can’t teach the speed and quickness and explosion that she has, so in a sense, she is naturally gifted, but you have to work to develop and be a complete player.”

Like Carrasquillo, Dora and her sister Belle Dora, are transplants from Long Island.

When Dora was in the fifth grade and her parents were forced to move the family to the south, finding a lacrosse program akin to those in the northeast was a top priority. The decision to go to Milton — arguably the biggest powerhouse in the region — paid off. Dora thrived during her high school career there and is headed to USC this fall.

Godby said that Dora was coveted by college recruiters throughout the nation, and her statistics speak for themselves. In Milton’s 21-0 season, she accounted for 112 goals, 42 assists, 48 draw controls and 22 caused turnovers. Dora scored 20 goals and 12 assists during the playoffs.

Despite having most of her 2020 wiped out due to the pandemic, Dora endeavored to build her game away from teammates and coaches. The effort off the field was rewarded when she helped lead Milton to yet another state title.

“She turned it up a notch this year; she was unstoppable,” Godby said. “She had a stretch during the season where she was scoring eight goals a game, and you would think opponents would say, ‘We know who this girl is. We know Maddie Dora and oh, she scored eight goals. We gotta stop her.’ They couldn’t stop her.”

“She turned it up a notch this year; she was unstoppable.”

— Tim Godby

Dora said there was a bit of rust to shake off after missing the bulk of her junior season. Even though Dora participated in an Under Armour event last summer, she mostly had to work out on her own.

She said taking on that responsibility and having to take classes virtually helped Dora gain independence.

“I think for everybody during the pandemic who is playing in college, it would definitely help them because in college it is a lot more, ‘You have to do what you have to do’ and be responsible for yourself,” Dora said. “I think it made me appreciate how much I enjoy being with my teammates and being with everybody.”

Godby said that by the state finals, teams were so keyed in on Dora that her teammates were left open to score. The result was that Dora became more of a distributor in the closing stretch of the season.

The Eagles won their final 19 games by a margin of five goals or more.

Like most high school squads, the team was forced to make sacrifices in order to play games amid a pandemic. Dora and many of her teammates opted to learn virtually and skip prom. The eschewing of such activities was worth it, Dora said.

The other sacrifice Dora and her teammates made was not facing out-of-state challengers. In 2019, Milton faced the likes of Georgetown Visitation (D.C.) and Bishop Ireton (Va.). This year, Milton was relegated to a mostly in-state schedule.

“One of the most memorable experiences I had was when we beat Bishop Ireton my sophomore year,” Dora said. “That was proof that we, Milton, can compete with the teams up north, and I feel like Georgia doesn’t get as much credit as the girls from Maryland or Long Island.”

Even with all of her accomplishments in Georgia, Dora still feels she has something to prove when she gets to USC. Part of what attracted Dora to the California college is the fact that lacrosse is still growing on the West Coast, much like how the sport is growing in Georgia.

Now she hopes she can be just as a big a contributor for USC as she was for Milton.

“I just got a feeling when I stepped onto campus, and I was like, ‘This is somewhere I want to be,’” Dora said. “Coming from Georgia, that is not a super developed lacrosse area and being able to go to the West Coast and play a game that is predominantly played on the East Coast is such a cool experience. Lacrosse is such a fast-growing sport, so [I like the idea of] being part of something special at USC, and the coaches are amazing and the girls are amazing out there, so when I stepped on campus, it was somewhere I wanted to be.”

Nike/USA Lacrosse High School Rankings
National Boys' Top 25 | National Girls' Top 25
Northeast Boys' Top 10 | Northeast Girls' Top 10
Mid-Atlantic Boys' Top 10 | Mid-Atlantic Girls' Top 10
South Boys' Top 10
| South Girls' Top 10
Midwest Boys' Top 10
| Midwest Girls' Top 10
West Boys' Top 10
| West Girls' Top 10

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1. Milton (Ga.), 21-0

Led by South Player of the Year Maddie Dora, the Eagles won their fourth straight state title, capping off an undefeated season. Milton topped West Forsyth (Ga.) 13-8 in the state championship. Dora, a USC recruit, had 20 goals and 12 assists during the four-game playoff run. Brie Catts (Florida), Skylar Carrasquillo (Yale), Marleigh Sanders (Notre Dame) and Marley Scott (Louisville) are among the Milton seniors committed to join Division I colleges next season.

2. American Heritage-Delray (Fla.), 16-1

The Stallions defeated Lake Highland Prep (Fla.) 13-11 to capture an FHSAA Class 1A championship, as they finished the season on an 11-game winning streak. Freshman Brooke Goldstein had a team-leading 52 goals, while junior Casey Roberts posted a team-high 32 assists. American Heritage’s only loss was a regular-season defeat against Lake Highland Prep. Senior midfielder Ainsley Huizenga will depart for William & Mary.

3. Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), 20-1

The Highlanders’ unbeaten season was interrupted by American Heritage-Delray in the state championship. Juniors Jacqueline Jaskiewicz and Lauren Pittman led Lake Highland with 47 goals each. Syracuse recruit Olivia Adamson had a team-leading 27 assists to add to her 40-goal contribution. In addition to Adamson, Ashley Thurston (Stanford), Sara Freeman (Stetson) and Sarah Pokorny (Denver) will be headed to the collegiate ranks next season.

4. East Chapel Hill (N.C.), 16-2

The Wildcats made an extraordinary run through the state playoffs, defeating the likes of Weddington and Cardinal Gibbons along the way. Sophie Halus, a senior committed to Colorado, and Molly Reed, a junior also committed to Colorado, tied as the team’s scoring leaders with 56 goals each.

5. Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.), 13-1

The Crusaders had their perfect season ruined by East Chapel Hill in the state quarterfinals. Harvard recruit Caroline Mullahy racked up 40 goals and 77 assists in just 14 games. Sophomore Gracie Mullahy tallied 36 goals and 28 assists.


6. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.), 13-1

The Raiders won the FHSAA Class 2A state championship by defeating Vero Beach (Fla.). St. Thomas Aquinas’ only loss was to Lake Highland Prep (Fla.). Navy recruit Ava Yovino led the team in both goals (45) and assists (28) to go along with a team-leading 49 ground balls and 21 draws. Peri Reigner also played a key role for St. Thomas Aquinas with 39 goals and 17 assists. Defender Amanda McCabe will be headed to Furman next season.

7. Weddington (N.C.), 17-2

The Warriors had their season upended by East Chapel Hill in the state championship game. Weddington’s only other loss of 2021 was against eventual N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association champion Charlotte Latin. Senior Jordyn Case (Stanford) scored 82 goals and added 53 assists to close out her stellar high school career. Virginia Tech recruit Kendal Williams added 70 goals to complete her senior season.

8. Franklin (Tenn.), 18-0

The Admirals’ perfect season culminated in a state title victory over Ravenwood (Tenn.). Sophomore Aliya Polisky led Franklin with six goals in the final, while senior Josie Ward scored five times to give her 110 goals for the season. Ward is headed to Vanderbilt next season. Franklin outscored opponents 356-94.

9. Hockaday (Texas), 12-2

The Daisies were crowned Texas Division I champions by defeating Southlake (Texas) 14-11 in the final May 9. The season also was highlighted by wins over Episcopal School Dallas (Texas) and Highland Park (Texas).

10. Vero Beach (Fla.), 16-2

Vero Beach came up short of a state title, losing to St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) in the FHSAA Class 2A championship. Sophomore Alexa Vega led the squad with 56 goals, while senior Emily Adams led with 49 assists on top of her 38 goals. Midfielders Ana Horvit (Syracuse) and Ramsey Barrows (Army) will be headed to the collegiate ranks next season.