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Pine-Richland's Drotar leads Lady Rams lacrosse back to playoffs

Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal - Pine-Richland's Tess Drotar works her way past the opposition in a regular season game.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Louis Raggiunti  |  Pine Creek Journal</em></div>Pine-Richland's Tess Drotar works her way past the opposition in a regular season game.
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal - Tess Drotar is difficult to stop when she is headed toward the net.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Louis Raggiunti  |  Pine Creek Journal</em></div>Tess Drotar is difficult to stop when she is headed toward the net.

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Top high school sports
Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Last year, the Pine-Richland girls lacrosse team made a stellar run to the WPIAL finals behind three outstanding seniors. The best part of having senior leaders is that they can shoulder the load, handle the pressure and provide experience underclassmen may not have.

The worst part of having those kind of players? They move on at season's end.

Fortunately for Pine-Richland, there is a strong senior class once again, led by Tess Drotar, a scoring machine coach Tori Trombetta said is a leader on and off the field.

“Tess is a team captain and a leader,” Trombetta said. “She is a hard worker and dedicated.”

Drotar came in as a freshman and had a successful soccer background on her résumé already. She started a lot on junior varsity and was a varsity call-up.

“Even then, you could tell she had the dedication to pay at the varsity level,” Trombetta said. “She is athletic, and she worked on the basics.”

With a foundation of fundamentals to go along with sheer athletic ability, it's no surprise to see Drotar brutalize the opposition with her scoring prowess.

“Tess is one of the fastest players on the team, and she is quick,” Trombetta said. “She gets assists, too; she is not just a scorer, she is an all-around player.”

Although she was an impact soccer player for Pine-Richland, Drotar said she has always had more skill in lacrosse. She credited her dad with sparking her interest in lacrosse.

“I have been involved in sports my whole life, so I have some natural skill, but with lacrosse I had to lift and work to get good,” Drotar said. “My strong suit is playing midfield, and I am good at getting open for a pass. I can carry the ball up field; I have good draw control.”

Drotar has embraced the blue-collar mentality Trombetta brought to the team.

“I have taken that mentality where I run to the ball and get it no matter what,” Drotar said.

The senior learned from those before her in regard to how to be a successful leader.

“I watched a lot of great players in Drew (Hayden) and Britt (Byerly) and watched how they adapted to things,” Drotar said. “They made things work. Things like stick skills and the mental aspects of the game … Those are the things that have helped over the years.”

Success comes from more than just skill, Drotar said. The Pine-Richland Lady Rams like each other, and that goes a long way toward obtaining success.

For her work with her teammates coupled with what she has accomplished as an individual, Drotar will be joining former teammate Britt Byerly at Duquesne in the fall to study business and play lacrosse.

“I was thinking Division II schools if I wanted to play, but I caught the coach's eye at Duquesne when I was at a camp,” Drotar said. “I am excited to play at such a high level.”

With her future secure, Drotar still has some unfinished business at the high school level.

“I want to help get this team back to the WPIAL finals and qualify for states,” she said. “No team from Western Pennsylvania has made it past the third round of states … I want us to do it.”

Trombetta will miss Drotar at the end of the season, but seeing the evolution of her player was a neat experience for the coach.

“Tess was always quiet, but I feel like she warmed up over the years,” Trombetta said. “This year, with the absence of the previous seniors, she came out of her shell and took the team under her wing. It was neat to see her be more of a vocal leader.”

Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or

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