Vasconcellos Returns Home To Coach Marvin Ridge Girls Lacrosse

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At A Glance
Marvin Ridge Girls Lacrosse
Conference: Southern Carolina Conference
Coach: Melinda Vasconcellos
Between the Lines: Head coach Melinda Vasconcellos is in her first year at Marvin Ridge after coaching at Sun Valley in 2016. … Marvin Ridge advanced to the fourth round of the 2016 Girls Lacrosse State Championships. … The Mavericks fell in the third round in 2015 after being the North Carolina state runner-up in 2014. … Three Mavericks seniors have signed to play college lacrosse next year while one junior has already committed to play in college.
 Melinda Vasconcellos has come full circle.
Eight years ago, Vasconcellos was on the first girls lacrosse team at Marvin Ridge High School and that experience vaulted the 2009 graduate to a college career playing lacrosse at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C.
After graduating from Presbyterian Collage, Vasconcellos was a graduate assistant lacrosse coach at Winthrop University for two seasons before spending last season coaching lacrosse at Sun Valley High School.
Now, Vasconcellos is back home looking to take the Mavericks program to greater heights.  “I’m really excited to help the program,” Vasconcellos said. “I helped to start the program as a player and it is fun to be back at my old high school. I’m looking forward to helping the program grow from a coaching standpoint instead of a player’s standpoint.”
Vasconcellos said the transition to a new team has gone smoothly.
“This is going pretty well, and we still have a lot of the season left to go,” Vasconcellos said. “I’m still optimistic that we will have that winning season under our belt. It’s been really cool to get to know the players and what their skills are. We have them learning a lot of plays on attack and on defense. It has definitely been a learning experience for everyone.”
Marvin Ridge has a strong senior class and Vasconcellos said that a host of underclassmen are providing valuable minutes for the Mavericks.
Seniors Sydney Etheridge (Campbell), Kortney Parker (Old Dominion) and Megann McKinney (Tusculum) have all signed to play collage lacrosse while junior Emma Kendrick has committed to Liberty.
Etheridge and Kendrick share time in goal and Vasconcellos said that rotation has paid dividends for the Mavericks.
“We pretty much split between Sydney and Emma,” Vasconcellos said. “It’s good for us because if one of them is having an off game the other is having an on game. It’s always good to have that last, strong player on defense. It works out pretty well and they are both going to D-I schools.”  Parker is one of the Mavericks top defenders.
“Kortney is one of our captains and she is definitely one of our leaders on our defensive end,” Vasconcellos said.
McKinney and Anna Ferko are two of Marvin Ridge’s top attackers. Ferko is also a team captain.  “Megann is solid and Anna definitely helps run our attack,” Vasconcellos said. “Both are solid attackers.”
Freshman Laura Ferko, who is Anna’s younger sister, has also showed promise for the Mavericks.
“Laura has come up big for us and I am definitely looking forward to see her grow,” Vasconcellos said.
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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at