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Team-by-team preview of local girls lacrosse season

Team-by-team preview of local girls lacrosse season

The New Jersey high school lacrosse season begins Wednesday, and the season-ending Tournament of Champions final is set for June 9.

CAPE-ATLANTIC LEAGUE

Absegami

Coach: Anna Gordon

Last season’s record: 6-12

Outlook: Gordon takes over for longtime coach Judy Callahan, who stepped down. Gordon, a 2013 Mainland Regional graduate, played for NCAA Division I La Salle University from 2014-2017. The Braves return senior attack Alexa Burns (43 goals, six assists) and junior midfielder Liz Picardi (21 goals) on offense. Filling out the midfield are senior Genesis Payne and freshman Haleigh Schafer. Sophomore goalie Radhika Pandya made 162 saves last season.

“I am very excited to be starting my first year as a head coach with this group of girls,” Gordon said. “We have a very young team that relies on the leadership from our returning players. However, our youth brings a very enthusiastic, positive and energetic environment for the whole team.”

Atlantic City

Coach: Brad Sorensen

Last season’s record: 6-12

Outlook: Leading the Vikings on defense will be four-year starter Isabella Turner, who will play for D-III Arcadia next season. Senior attack Hanna Giaccone, who will play for D-III Wesley, will lead the attack, along with junior midfielder Catherine Agostini. With 85 career goals, Agostini is in line to be the fourth-year program’s first 100-goal scorer.

“We are still growing as a program with the foundation being built on hard work, energy and effort,” Sorensen said. “Having two seniors who will be playing in college next season is proof that the program is building in the right direction.”

Cedar Creek

Coach: Kelsey Lorady

Last season’s record: 4-11

Outlook: The Pirates return one of the top players in the CAL, senior attack Taylor Emmell. Coming up on 200 career goals, Emmell will play for D-I Monmouth next season. She is joined by senior midfielder Rachel Skinner and senior defender Kaitlyn DeLucca. Junior midfielder Alexis Marker is nearing her 100th career goal.

“We are motivated and excited for this season.” Lorady said. “We have a lot of returning, talented players who want to make a mark in the league and take the team to the next level through their leadership and play on the field.”

Egg Harbor Township

Coach: Melissa Williams

Last season’s record: 8-8

Outlook: Williams takes over for previous coach Franklin Williams (no relation). Melissa Williams is a 2012 EHT grad and was a standout for D-II Georgian Court. The Eagles return senior midfielder Jordan Santana, who had 77 goals and 29 assists last season to lead the team. Senior goalie Mia Monacelli made 295 saves and had a 5.36 save percentage last season. Junior midfielder Olivia Elwell (14 goals, seven assists) also could contribute on offense.

“I am very excited for the upcoming season,” Williams said. “We are a young team with potential to be highly competitive in the CAL.”

Holy Spirit

Coach: Tony Roma

Last season’s record: 7-13

Outlook: The Spartans return a young team led by senior defender Regina Lamcken (27 ground balls) and senior attack Rebecca Turner (32 goals, nine assists and 29 ground balls) Turner will play for D-III Hood.Sophomore attack Jolena Cordasco (27 goals, nine assists) will lead the offense. The Spartans also have midfielders Livia McManus (sophomore) and junior Bryanna Mastro (22 goals, 12 assists).

“I think we have a lot to prove this season with a full team of returners,” Roma said. “The team unity this year is something I am beyond proud of and we’re all really excited to see what can be accomplished this year.”

Lower Cape May Reg.

Coach: JoAnn McLaughlin

Last season’s record: 12-5

Outlook: The Caper Tigers are coming off the program’s best season and finished 11th in The Press Elite 11. They return some of their top scorers, including sophomore Maya Critchfield (37 goals, 15 assists) and junior Marissa Giancola (56 goals, 17 assists). Unfortunately, they must try to replace the 45 goals sophomore Carina Raymond scored last year. Raymond is out for the season with a torn ACL suffered during basketball season. Junior goalie Mel Amador stopped 228 shots and posted a .655 save percentage.

“Our team is dealing with some adversity, but we are working hard to improve on our performance from last year,” McLaughlin said.

Mainland Regional

Coach: Bernadette Daley

Last season’s record: 13-6

Outlook: The Mustangs return senior attack Megan McIntyre-Bozzi, one of the best players in the CAL. Bozzi, who has committed to D-I Coastal Carolina, has scored more than 100 goals in each of the last two seasons and has 256 for her career. The Mustangs also feature senior defender Gabrielle Cohen (58 goals, 16 assists last season) with classmates Molly O’Shea (midfield), Emily Osterman and Mary McLaughlin. Junior goalie Ciara Reeves and sophomore Robin Spector also will be key contributors.

“We’re hoping to make our mark in the CAL, show how talented we are, and the kids have high hopes for the season,” Daley said.

Middle Township

Coach: Tina Prickett

Last season’s record: 18-3

Outlook: The Panthers, who finished No. 3 in Elite 11, are going to look like a new team. The Panthers graduated an outstanding senior class that led by Bridget Ruskey, the state’s all-time leading goal scorer, and Allison Hunter, the state’s all-time assists leader. Both play now for D-I La Salle. They also have a new coach, with Jacqueline Scuderi having taken the Seneca job. Replacing her is Tina Prickett. The Panthers return a lot of talented players, including senior goalie Maggie Slavin (D-II Nyack commit), sophomore attacks Kira Sides, Aubrey Hunter and Maddie Barber and sophomore defender Ava Wells.

“It’s amazing to wear the black and orange again,” said new coach Prickett, who graduated from Middle in 2001. “I’ve always been a proud Panther alumna. I know some core contributing players graduated, and they will be missed, but it also gives the younger players the opportunity to step up and continue what they helped start.”

Millville

Coach: Andrea Pfeiffer

Last season’s record: 10-7

Outlook: Senior midfielder Ava Wright is 15 goals away from scoring her 100th. Joining her on offense is sophomore attack Kylie Giordano. Leading the defense will be seniors Michelle Errickson and Sarah Buckley and sophomore Kelsey Andres.

“This season, we’re looking to rebuild after losing our first-team (Press All-Star) midfielder and goalie Abby Daigle and Brittany Watson,” Pfeiffer said. “We have an athletic and energized team that’s ready to compete in the CAL and improve upon our record from last season.”

Oakcrest

Coach: Jamie Toy

Last season’s record: 1-12

Outlook: The Falcons will continue to rebuild this season. They return seniors Kelsey Andrus, Lianna Graniglia and Jenna Steelman and junior Phoebe Ohnemuller.

“We’re coming off of a rebuilding year and hoping to improve defensive play and build on individual skills,” Toy said. “We gained a lot of new players this year and are working toward building up the program.”

Ocean City

Coach: Alyssa Morrison

Last season’s record: 17-3

Outlook: The Red Raiders, No. 7 in last year’s Elite 11, went unbeaten in the CAL last year. Though the team is young, it still has a lot of experience, led by seniors Shannon O’Reilly (attack) and Hailey Stack (defense). Also returning are leading scorer Emily DiMarino, midfielder Anna Devlin and junior midfielder Danielle Donoghue. O.C.’s faceoff specialist and most diverse player, Donoghue is committed to play for D-I Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland.

“We’re a very young team this year, but that does not mean our talent is young,” Morrison said. “Our feeder program is strong, and it is starting to show in our athletes. They are coming in with lots of experience, and they are able to fill the gaps of players who graduated. I’m very excited to see this young team continue to make a name for themselves in and out of the CAL.”

Our Lady of Mercy Academy

Coach: Jen Valore

Last season’s record: 2-11

Outlook: The Villagers, who have 12 freshmen, hope to have a big improvement in Valore’s second year. Leading the offense is junior midfielder Mary Meduri (48 goals). They also have senior midfielders Meaghan Baker (25 goals, 10 assists, 77 ground balls) and Allyson McCormick (77 ground balls).

“Half of the varsity team are freshmen this year,” Valore said. “Last year, we had no freshmen on the roster. The large freshman class shows great growth for the future.”

SHORE CONFERENCE

Barnegat

Coach: Lyndsay Torre

Last season’s record: 8-8

Outlook: The Bengals, who play in the conference’s B South Division, return a young team led by juniors Chloe McGee (midfield), Ashley Walter (defense), Kara Ferrigno (midfield), Kyla Rauch (attack) and Gabby Furrule (goalie). They also feature sophomore midfielder Maddie Schleicher. Freshmen midfielders Alexis Jackson and Ashley Pringle also will contribute.

“We’re a young, talented team looking to build upon last year,” Torre said.

Lacey Township

Coach: Aimee Del Vento

Last season’s record: 10-6

Outlook: The Lions, competing in B South, return a handful of key sophomores and juniors. Leading the defense are juniors Kayla Vaccaro and Elizabeth Fastow with sophomore Olivia Tarricone. Sophomore midfielder Claudia Schreier was a first-team Press All-Star in 2017 and will lead the offense. They also have sophomore midfielder Abigayle Sinibaldi and junior Caroline Fenton.

“Our team has been working hard during the offseason and will continue to work hard to adjust to the many positions that need to be filled this season,” Del Vento said.

Pinelands Regional

Coach: Paul Millar

Last season’s record: 0-16

Outlook: The Wildcats, competing in B South, are hoping to improve this season. They look to replace leading scorer and Press All-Star honorable mention Susanna Cardillo, who graduated. No further information was available from the Wildcats.

Southern Regional

Coach: Lori Johnson

Last season’s record: 12-7

Outlook: The Rams, competing in A South, return some key seniors, especially on defense — backs Rachel Saur, Danielle Bialecki and Michelle Martin and goalie Noelle Englebert. They also have senior attack Maddie Leyh and junior midfielder Alexis Maul.

“We are a very young team this year,” Johnson said. “We do have a core number of defenders coming back. Losing our leading scorer Shannon Lytle to a knee injury is a big loss. We are hoping to build from our youthfulness and hope to be competitive in A South.”

Contact: 609-272-7210 JRusso@PressofAC.com Twitter @ACPress_Russo

Contact: 609-272-7046

nhuba@pressofac.com

Twitter @acpresshuba​

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Sports Reporter

I graduated from Rowan University in 2011 where I studied journalism. I covered local high school and college sports at the South Jersey Times and Vineland Daily Journal. I have been a sports reporter with The Press since July of 2013

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