New players set to lead QV, Sewickley girls lacrosse teams
The Quaker Valley and Sewickley Academy girls lacrosse teams each made runs to the postseason in 2012.
To repeat that feat in 2013, both teams will need to rely on a bevy of younger players to step up in the stead of graduated seniors. Their coaches have confidence they can get it done.
“I'm looking for a similar season — let's put it that way,” Quaker Valley coach Nellie Kraus said.
Quaker Valley lost 13 seniors from a team that finished 9-4 and lost to Mt. Lebanon in the first round of the WPIAL Division I tournament. Those departures included Susie Kraus, Sarah Miller and Grace Wilson, the cornerstones of the Quakers' offensive attack a year ago.
“Their ability to have confidence to drive to the goal — we're going to need to replace that,” said Kraus, in her second year as Quaker Valley's coach. “I'm not sure who that is, who's going to fill that spot.”
Graduations aside, Kraus expects the team to experience the same level of success it did a season ago because of its depth and senior leadership.
Seniors Caitlin Carlson, Lea Giotto, Meredith Malcolm, Rachel Skolnekovich and Laura Stinson will be counted on to provide leadership for this year's team, as will junior Heather Peduzzi, Kraus said
Giotto and Peduzzi, along with junior Ali Hallaman, sophomores Kayla Foster, Annie Henry and Lexie Meanor and freshmen Aubrey Bouchard and Emily Kraus, will help to replace some of the offense the Quakers lost to graduation.
The Quakers opened up the season with a 12-7 loss to Pine-Richland March 26 that showed the offense would be a work in progress.
“We're still trying to figure out the chemistry with our attackmen,” Kraus said. “We had some really good fast-break passing (for) goals. We're still just working on our motions to create a strong, confident offensive team.”
Kraus said the team worked on its chemistry in the offseason by going on an overnight retreat and playing at an indoor tournament at Southpointe. She saw good things from the defense and goalie Aubrie Tarris in the game against Pine-Richland and said she's “looking forward to a healthy, positive season.”
“We're looking forward to getting some games under our belt and see what happens,” she said.
Sewickley Academy's team is more than just young: It's small, too. The varsity and junior varsity rosters have a combined 24 players, including five seniors and five juniors.
Coach Cheryl Ann Lassen said the Panthers pack plenty of talent into that small package.
“We've got some freshmen who have come on board and are doing a really great job and seem to be filling in the spots,” Lassen said. “We're coming along — I think we're at a little higher level than we were last year at this time, which is good, and I think a lot has to do with our underclassmen.”
Senior captain Alexis Bosilovic, picked as a section all-star by the Western Pennsylvania Girls Lacrosse Coaches Association last season, will lead the team offensively. She scored eight goals in an 18-9 victory over North Allegheny in the preliminary round of the Division I playoffs last season.
“She's definitely one of the more talented, stronger players out there,” Lassen said.
Other senior captains include defender Micaela Becker and attacker Tori Pawk.
With the team's youth, Lassen said she's looking for players who are able to handle playing at the varsity level and said the team's freshmen have done a good job of handling the pressure. Still, she said the team's consistency will need to develop as the year goes on.
The Panthers missed a full week of practice earlier this season because of spring break and had a scrimmage canceled and their first game postponed because of inclement weather.
Sewickley Academy opened its season March 28 with a 15-14 loss to Pine-Richland, but Lassen said she was encouraged by what she saw.
“We can't settle and be like, ‘Oh, we're OK,' but we're at a good spot,” Lassen said. “We know where we can get to. To me, it feels like we have the ability to really elevate to the next level. We're going to have to work to catch up to get there, but I see it. I see a lot of potential.”