Latrobe lacrosse teams finding midseason form

| Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Latrobe girls lacrosse team is a close-knit group that's making its name in close games this season.

“They have this chemistry, they lean on each other,” coach Kaytie Russo said of her squad. “That's hard to find in a group of high school girls.”

The Wildcats came into this week with a 5-3 overall record and a 4-1 mark in Division II, Section 1 play. The season's signature win came earlier this month against section rival Hempfield, an 11-10 triumph that came down to the final seconds.

After taking a one-goal lead late in the game, goalie Kaitlyn Bereit literally saved the contest with just seconds remaining.

“She came out and stuffed this girl,” Russo said of the game-clinching stop.

The defense, keyed by junior Alexa Stychula and sophomore Ava Petrosky, has been strong as well.

“(Alexa) stops the other team's transition and gets the ball back into our offensive zone,” Russo said. “She comes up big when we need her to.”

The offense is paced by sophomore Hannah Ayers, a transfer from Valley who exhibits versatility from the attack position.

“She's a well-rounded player,” Russo said of Ayers. “She can get to the goal or attack from the top.”

Freshman midfielder Jessica Kostik, who Russo describes as a “tremendous athlete” is also part of the starting lineup.

Senior Kelsey DeFelice is the captain of this year's team.

Russo has been pleased with her team's effort so far this season, and feels like the girls are primed for a run at the playoffs.

“The girls are holding up their end of the deal,” Russo said. “And the payoff is showing up in our record.”

Boys lacrosse

The Latrobe boys lacrosse team came into this week with an overall record of 2-5 and a Division II, Section 1 mark of 1-1.

Last week's 15-10 nonsection loss at Quaker Valley snapped Latrobe's two-game winning streak, a stretch where the team was starting to hit its stride after a slow start, according to coach David Letsell.

“We seem to be playing a lot better,” Letsell said. “We didn't have the best start, but things are turning around.”

Leading the way this season is senior Jake Artuso, who scored five goals from his attack position in the Quaker Valley loss and has netted 24 goals this season.

“He's a great leader,” Letsell said of Artuso. “He never quits. He always gives 100 percent.”

Alongside Artuso up front at attack is fellow senior Adam Drake, who has seven goals and seven assists this season.

Junior Nick Halula scored four goals against Quaker Valley to increase his season total to 17, good for second on the team.

Leading the way on defense is senior Bryce Kramer, a key cog in Letsell's pressure defensive system.

Senior goalie Zack Spangler is in his first year between the pipes.

“He came to me in the offseason and said he wanted to play goalie,” Letsell said of Spangler. “We gave him a crash course in the offseason. He's naturally athletic and very quick. He's been playing awesome.”

Kevin Ritchart is a freelance writer.

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