Latrobe lacrosse captures program's 1st section title
The Latrobe girls lacrosse team made history in 2013. Now, with the playoffs upon them, the Wildcats are hoping to cap off a historic season with a WPIAL championship.
At 10-5 overall and 9-1 in section play, the Wildcats claimed the program's first section title, finishing as co-champions of Division II, Section 1 with the Ellis School.
“There's just no words to describe it; it was the most amazing feeling,” senior Kelsey DeFelice said. “It just shows that hard work really does pay off, and it's just a great feeling we kind of made Latrobe lacrosse history. We'll have a banner in the gym, and it will always be there to remember.”
Latrobe will host the winner of Blackhawk and Butler's preliminary-round game in a first-round contest Thursday at 7 p.m.
According to coach Kaytie Russo, if the Wildcats continue to stay positive and keep the right mindset, they should find success in the postseason.
“I think just keeping morale up (is important),” Russo said. “Our girls, they really lean on each other for motivation before a big game, and I think keeping up that enthusiasm and energy that we've been playing with the last few weeks is really going to tremendously help us out.
“Their mindset's in the right place, and they just want to go as far as they can in playoffs.”
Winners of five of its last six games, Latrobe's recent play has obviously played a key part in its lofty playoff position, but it's also been the Wildcats' preparation for this season that has helped to make them so successful.
DeFelice and the other team captains spent the offseason teaching and drilling their younger teammates so once official team practices began, the Wildcats were already ahead of where they normally are at that point in the season.
“We normally spend the first four to five weeks of conditioning and the season teaching these girls the basic game,” Russo said. “So having them coming in with some sort of knowledge, we've been able to teach them more things this season and do more advanced things.”
Two of those younger players, freshman midfielder Jessica Kostic and sophomore midfielder Anna Ayers, have helped a deep and balanced Wildcats team this year and are proof of the team's offseason work.
“We worked hard all season, and I think every little thing we did will help,” DeFelice said.
So when it comes time for their first playoff game, Latrobe just has to continue to do what it has done all season.
“I think the girls need to stay focused,” Russo said. “Their heads are in the right mindset right now. I think if they just go into every game knowing what we have to do and what we need to execute, that we'll be fine.”
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.