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Franklin Regional girls lacrosse eager to snap losing streak

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Aaron Loughner | For The Murrysville Star
Franklin Regional junior Brisa Colaizzi looks downfield during the Panthers' game against Sewickley Academy on Thursday, May 2, 2013, at Franklin Regional High School.
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

After a winless 2012 season, the Franklin Regional girls lacrosse team began this year on a high note by defeating Hampton in the opener.

Since then, however, things have gone downhill once again.

The Panthers (1-11, 0-8) had lost 11 straight games heading into a non-section contest against Pine-Richland on Tuesday. The team will host Seneca Valley at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in its final game of the season.

“We were winning in the beginning as we started our season, but unfortunately it's kind of taken a step back,” coach Abbi Novic said. “We still have a lot to work on.”

Franklin Regional won a WPIAL title in girls lacrosse in 2010 and advanced to the postseason the following season, and Novic believes the program has a chance to get back there soon.

However, she said improvement needs to be made in the basics of the game, in areas like catching and throwing. Novic said such work ideally would be done in middle school so by the time the players get to high school they can be molded into a “true lacrosse team.”

“It's just like a singer,” Novic said. “If someone has a great voice, you can teach them a song and think about the expression and performance of it. But it's so much easier to start with that great voice.”

Novic said because of a large freshman class and other new players, anyone with experience from last season plays on the varsity team. Because of that, many of the players on the varsity team played JV last season.

“I'm happy with the players we have, how hard they work in practice,” Novic said. “Little by little, we'll continue to get better, and in the next year or so we'll be one of the top teams. But practice makes perfect.”

In the meantime, the Panthers are relying on what Novic called a “great senior class,” led by Mikaela Bortot on offense and Shelby Mohler on defense. Juniors Hannah Bertolo (midfield) and Brisa Colaizzi (midfield) and sophomores Annie Painter and Sarah Stephens also provide skill and experience for Franklin Regional.

With just a few games remaining before the end of the season, Novic said the Panthers were looking to break their long losing streak. However, she said she believes the team has worked very hard this season and improved in many of the basics needed for a successful program.

“(The season) blew by, and I'm trying not to think about it,” Novic said. “Seasons are really special times, and it's hard to think about the seniors who are leaving our team this year.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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