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CAROLINA CRUSH STAFF

Melissa profile photo

Melissa LaDez, Co-Founder/Head Coach - CW Post

Coach Melissa grew up in West Babylon, N.Y. where she started playing lacrosse at 8 years old. She played for West Babylon High School, where she garnered All-County accolades her senior year as a defender. Melissa then went on to play at C.W. Post, one of the top ranked Division II schools in the country. She made appearances in 3 National Championships during her time at C.W. Post, and is a proud member of the 2007 National Championship team. After completing her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at Post, she traveled to Australia as a member of the U.S. Red team , capping off her playing career with a silver medal at the Down Under Cup. Melissa then returned to C.W. Post to obtain her Master's degree in School Counseling. She has served as the Head Varsity Coach at Independence High School for the past two seasons, and looks forward to providing girls in the Charlotte area the same opportunity to learn and grow that she was provided.

Sandy Barnett

Sandy Barnett, Co-Founder/Operations - Buffalo State

Sandy, a Buffalo native, is a long time fan of lacrosse and the opportunities that are reflected in team sports. Her passion is to grow the game of lacrosse in the SE Charlotte area, and raise the level of play for all athletes at the local middle & high school level. She currently serves as the Southern Towns Commissioner for Mecklenburg County Parks & Rec, Chair of the South Advisory Council, Former Chair of the Town of Mint Hill Parks & Rec , Board Secretary of Matthews Charter Academy, co-founder of Independence HS Lacrosse program and owner of Target Market NC, LLC.

Ariel profile photo

Ariel Walker, Women's Coach - Belmont Abbey College

Ariel Walker, former midfielder/attacker for Belmont Abbey College, goes into her first year (2016-17) as Head Coach for the Women's Varsity Lacrosse at Porter Ridge High School. Walker was a four year starter who assisted the Belmont Abbey Women's Lacrosse team in making it to the Conference Carolinas Championship all four year she attended. She earned her Bachelor of Science in psychology while at the Abbey. Her passion for the game has led her to coach at various camps and clinics for the Cheetah Lacrosse Club, Mountain Island, and most recently Turn and Burn Lacrosse. Walker is a native of Knoxville, TN where she started playing at the age of 13 and later captained the Cheetah Lacrosse Club. She current volunteers weekly fo rthe Alexander Youth Network, and plays for the 5th nationally ranked Charlotte Rugby Club.

Natalie profile photo

Natalie Barnett, Women's Coach - Presbyterian College

Natalie is a 2019 graduate of Presbyterian College; Big South Division 1 Conference. As starter midfielder for 4 years, she garnered 63 points (50 goals and 13 assists) during her time on the field. She was named to the Big South All Academic Team in 2019, Provost List Scholar with a major in Bio-Chemistry with plans to become a PA. Natalie was a former 4x captain, 3x scholar athlete, and 3x MVP midfielder of Independence HS Lacrosse. She is also former US Lacrosse All American Academic and 2014 member of the North Carolina national lacrosse team.

Anicia Ocasio, Women's Coach - Wingate University

Anicia Ocasio is a 2019 graduate of Wingate University where she contributed on and off the field as a defender and staff member for the Women's Lacrosse team. Prior to college, Anicia was also a standout defender at Independence HS and strong academic student and leader on and off the field.

Aara Chrabaszewski, Women's Coach- UNC Chapel Hill

Aara is a junior at UNC studying Political Science and current captain of the women's club lacrosse team. She has been with Crush since the program began, playing under Mel and Ariel, and is looking forward to coming back and helping coach for the program that shaped my lacrosse career.

Jeff Tibbs, Women's Coach

Coach Jeff is the current assistant coach for Independence High School Women's varsity lacrosse. He brings a positive energy and excitement to our staff and helps the players improve their performance on and off the field.

Justin Leath, Men's Head Coach - Appalachian State

Justin grew up in the Charlotte area, and played lacrosse for Appalachian State University. At App State he played midfield and specialized in face-offs. He was a 2-year captain and officer for the team serving as Secretary and Vice-President. While on the team, the Mountaineers made their way back to the SELC playoffs. Coach Leath has 8 years of coaching experience ranging all ages and playing levels. His experience includes Head Coach at Recreational, Travel, and High School Varsity levels; as well as Program Coordinator at Turn and Burn Lacrosse.

Dave Thompson, Men's Coach

David Thompson is a Mint Hill Native and Independence High School Alumni. David was a 3 Year Goalie for Independence High School Soccer and for Multiple Select Travel Teams In Charlotte. David started his coaching career for multiple sports for Mint Hill Athletic Association and as Cabarrus County Youth Travel Goalie Coach. David's interest in Lacrosse started in Colorado 10 years ago and since returning to North Carolina has been heavily involved with Independence High School Lacrosse. In 2020 David was named the Men's Independence High School Head Coach and has served as a Carolina Crush Coach for 1 Season. David loves the sport of Lacrosse and enjoys having the opportunity to teach the sport to anyone wanting to learn Lacrosse.

Matthew Kulikowski, Men's Coach

Matthew was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina and has played lacrosse for the past six years. A graduating senior at Independence, he played all four years in High School and captained his team the final two as a Midfielder and a Face-off specialist. Matthew was also a part of previous travel teams with Carolina Crush. He looks to help players have fun and grow the great sport of Lacrosse.

Bill

Bill Harper, Men's Coach

Bill started playing lacrosse in middle school at Weddington Middle, and then continued into HS play at Weddington High & Marvin HS. He has coached at Porter Ridge HS and returns to Crush for a second season. Bill brings a wealth of knowledge and talent to the team and impacts the productivity of the player on and off the field.

Myles Stewart, Men's Junior Goalie Coach - St Andrews University

Myles Stewart, a Charlotte native, has participated in many lacrosse camps and goalie clinics over the past few years and earned a starting goalie position with Independence High School. Even though he has only played lacrosse for a few years, his love of the game and willingness to work hard has resulted in a position next fall with the Knights at St Andrew's University in Laurinburg, NC. Myles brings passion, love of the game and goalie training to the staff of Crush.

   

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