CEDAR GROVE, NJ - In one week, a Cedar Grove lacrosse player managed to get six goals, 13 draw controls and 17 ground balls. With statistics like that and the winning attitude she possesses, Mikayla Hom has proven her worth on the team. Now, Hom has proven herself as something else: this week’s TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove Panther Athlete of the Week.

“It feels really great to be athlete of the week,” Hom said. “The hard work I've put in has paid off.”

So far this season, Hom has 13 goals, an assist and 75 ground balls, which Hom said is her best skill. Even with an impressive record, the high school junior wants to improve on her defensive playing skills and try to score more on free possession shots.

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As for the Panthers, Hom – who plays center midfield -- said the girls have some of their own goals as a team.

“For the season, the team wants to win more games, play better defense and set up more organized plays,” Hom said. “I also want the team to work more cooperatively rather than individually.”

Being a first year varsity team has been tough, Hom added, and the Panthers have been playing competitive teams. Even with some difficult competition, the girls are doing their best to push through the challenges.

“The challenges this year for the team and myself are probably playing very tough defense,” Hom said. “It's definitely something we need to work on but I have no doubt in my mind that next year we can easily become better defensive players.”

One game the players are proud of is their senior night game, in which they learned to heighten their intensity and hold the ball in their possession.

Hom's efforts have helped the Panthers improve throughout the season, Coach Sean Sweeney said.

“Mikayla is so important to our team's success.  She consistently battles for loose balls.  This effort often helps her teammates make plays on the ball and collect ground balls for their stat column,” Sweeney said. “She is a selfless player who puts all of her teammates and the team's success before her own.”

Hom plans to continue to improve her game and help her team become better as a whole, and of course continue to enjoy the game she loves.

“What I love most about lacrosse would have to be the intensity it arises in me,” Hom said. “I love the sport as a whole and the rush you get when you get a breakaway is a really good feeling."