Old, new faces leading Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse
Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse coach Julie Gould's heart was racing when her squad took to the field against Hempfield in the opening round of the WPIAL Division II playoffs.
The third-year coach made an adjustment before the game and started four freshmen — Alivia Cangelier, Margot Mason, Maria Stamerra and ShyAnne Toomer — which goes against her normal coaching philosophy.
“They are so young and are coming off of middle school lacrosse,” Gould said. “This is a big WPIAL playoff game. I didn't want to set them up to fail, but I knew they could do well and I wanted to put them in the right position to do well.”
The youthful roster didn't slow the Colts down as they rolled past the Spartans, 16-4.
Chartiers Valley started the scoring just more than two minutes into the game as Mason made a pass from behind the net to junior Paige Onomastico for the score. Over the next four minutes, the Colts extended the lead to 5-0. Hempfield called a timeout at the 18:51 mark, but it allowed Chartiers Valley to recharge as it finished the half up, 12-1.
“I thought we played really well,” junior attacker Hope Tornabene said. “We had a lot of great transitions. We really utilized everyone on the field.”
Coming out of the half up by 11, Gould did not want her squad to lay off the intensity. Hempfield mounted a second-half comeback to defeat Knoch, 15-14, in the opening round of the playoffs, and she didn't want her squad to suffer the same fate.
“I knew they were capable of coming back,” Gould said. “We didn't change much, but we wanted them to pull out and pass more. At that point it was all about team unity, because things can break down quickly.”
Stamerra led the team with five goals. Tornabene added three. Senior Maddie Langbein had two goals.
Mason finished with two goals, and Cangelier and Toomer each added a goal.
The squad's defensive effort impressed Gould. The team is allowing only eight goals per game and has held 15 of its opponents to single digits.
“I told the team (during the Hempfield game) that I am so impressed with the defensive transition when the ball is turned over,” Gould said. “When it goes down the field, our midfielders are working their butts off to get there. It causes other teams to make mistakes.”
The win pushed Chartiers Valley's record to 16-2. Its only losses have come to Mt. Lebanon, 11-3, and Peters Township, 15-7, both of which played in the WPIAL Division I semifinals this week.
It is the third straight season Gould has led the Colts into the WPIAL playoffs. During her first two seasons, Chartiers Valley reached the WPIAL Division II title game, falling to North Hills, 15-5, in 2011 and 11-10 in 2012.
“It was hard,” Tornabene said. “But we learned a lot from it and need to push on. We got better from it.”
While the previous two seasons have ended on a down note, the experiences have led to a well-versed team this season.
“This team has seen its ups and downs and has been through the trials and tribulations,” Gould said. “This team has been groomed for the playoffs. All of the running and all the legwork in the preseason has led up to this.”
Chartiers Valley played Blackhawk in the Division II semifinals Tuesday. Results were unavailable at press time.
The winner of game will face the winner of the game between Shaler and Hampton at 6 p.m. today, Thursday, at North Hills.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.