A young star is sparking a young sport in Kentucky.
was an all-state attacker — as an eighth-grader — for the Centurions' girls lacrosse team at Christian Academy (Louisville, Ky.)
, and her all-around ability could be a big help in growing the game in a state where basketball is the sport of choice.
Still, there are now 16 girls high school lacrosse teams, and universities such as Louisville and Bellarmine are adding the sport, which will generate more interest.
But college is a long way off for Anderson, who is still young to the sport.
"I didn't really know much about it until my older sister started playing," she said.
Older sister, in this case, is Centre College All-American Jacqueline Anderson, who also played at Christian Academy.
But why lacrosse instead of basketball?
"I like being able to be aggressive," said Caroline. "I like the contact — you're always fighting for ground balls."
Anderson, though, isn't exactly overpowering. In fact, until she grew to 5-foot-6, coach Stu Bailey was reluctant to have her play with his varsity, even though she had the skills.
"She's fast and she understands what to do off the ball," he said. "She looks for openings and has the best shot on the team."
Christian Academy struggled this season, going 8-13, but the team had lost several strong seniors and relied on youth — exemplified by Anderson, even though she had her doubts at the start of the season.
"I was really scared," she said. "The girls were a lot bigger than me."
Anderson also had to adjust to playing attack, as she had been a midfielder up to that point. "On attack, it's easier to move the ball around," she said. "When you're a middie, it's hard to get back sometimes."
And there was also the issue of the young kid pushing aside her elders.
"A lot of the older girls felt a little threatened," she said. "But by the end of the year, I was accepted."
Her unselfish play was once reason that she gained acceptance.
"She scored in every game and was outplaying seniors," said Bailey, "But she also gave up assists. The girls recognized she's a good player, and she's not braggadocious about it."
And even though Anderson was one of the best players in the state, high school lacrosse was a challenge.
"It pushes me a lot harder," she said. "These teams are so good."
But the future is bright, both for Anderson and for Christian Academy, a team that fourth-year coach Bailey says is continuing to improve.
"We have a group of girls who really want to win," said Anderson, and she can sense the sport is catching on. "I've introduced lacrosse to a lot of my friends and they really, really like it."
Anderson is obviously already in love with the sport, and her all-state honor was icing on the cake.
"Coach announced it at our banquet," she said. "I was shocked."
She better get used to recognition, though, as her talent and a growing interest in lacrosse should keep her in the Kentucky prep sports spotlight for four more years.