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Playoffs the goal for SSA girls lacrosse squad

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Last season, the Shady Side Academy girls lacrosse team beat Seneca Valley in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs and fell in the semifinals to Pine-Richland. Coach Emily Schaknowski is hopeful that this year's squad will be a solid playoff contender.

The Indians lost six seniors to graduation but will return eight starters led by all-WPIAL standout Felicia Tissenbaum, a midfielder who will be playing at Stanford next year.

She will be ably complemented by fellow seniors Mickey Saperstein and Lia Winter at midfield along with senior attacker Michela Jaffe. Other returning starters are sophomore midfielders Kara Pooley and Charlotte Redican, junior defender Taylor Valenta and sophomore goalie Gabby Harchelroad.

The team will also feature some promising young newcomers in freshmen Sydney Jones, Katie Bray, Katherine McGhee and Alayna Trice.

“Our strengths will be our athleticism and our intelligence,” Schaknowski said.

“We have a good mix of experienced players and some talented underclassmen. We will be playing in Section1, Division 1 and the top contenders will likely be Mt. Lebanon and Peters Township.”

Schaknowski feels that if her team puts in the needed effort, they should contend again.

“We scrimmaged Fox Chapel after a few days of practice and it was obvious that we have some talent on the team but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done,” she said.

“We have put in a lot of work during the off-season and this group is working hard to challenge for the WPIAL championship.”

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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