Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse ready to snap the streak
It has been a recurring nightmare for the Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse team.
The Colts have dominated the competition over the last three seasons, compiling a 53-7 record. But each season they have fallen short in the WPIAL Division II title game, including one-goal losses in 2012 and 2013.
For the 10 seniors on this season's team, ending with a loss is not an option.
“We are not losing this year,” senior goalkeeper Haley Stamerra said. “This is the last year for the seniors. Coming home with a loss isn't happening this year.”
Chartiers Valley's recent success has come under the guidance of coach Julie Gould. A former player at Duquesne, Gould coached Mt. Lebanon to five WPIAL titles from 2001-06. She carried the success over to Chartiers Valley and led the Colts to the WPIAL title game her first season — the first time a Chartiers Valley girls squad reached a District 7 championship game.
With this season's senior class the first to be coached by her for all four years, communication between coach and players is at an all-time high.
“She is like a second mom to us,” senior defender Maddie Kehoe said. “But this year is different. She is here to win. She is really tough.”
The team lost seven seniors from last season's runner-up squad but returns many of its top playmakers.
The offense will run through sophomore midfielder Maria Stamerra. With the return of seniors Kelsey Quinn, Hope Tornabene and Paige Onomastico, the team shouldn't fall far from its 12.9 goals-per-game average from a season ago.
“(Sophomore) Margot Mason got playing time last year, as well,” Gould said. “She has gotten faster and stronger. She will be a very aggressive midfielder.”
The midfield also returns seniors Camille Scumaci and Katie Wiess.
As good as the offense could be, the defense may be even stronger. It gave up only 8.45 goals per game last season.
“This is a mean defense,” Gould said. “They capitalize on each other's strengths and clean up each other's mistakes really well.”
Kehoe will be the senior leader of the defensive core that also returns senior Marissa Breitsenstein and sophomore ShyAnne Toomer.
“We had a few players switch from offense to defense,” Kehoe said. “The talent on defense is so strong this year. We are looking forward to it.”
But the best player on the field for the Colts might be Haley Stamerra. A second-year captain, the senior brings a veteran presence to the goalkeeper position that enables her to control the entire field.
“She just spills out confidence,” Gould said. “She is a complete package in goal and is an amazing athlete.”
The 2014 roster is compiled mainly of 10 seniors and 10 sophomores. Gould said the freshman class has shown promise but none has been able to crack the varsity roster.
“But that isn't off the table,” she said.
The Colts will be challenged in Division 2, Section 2 by Bethel Park. The teams have developed a rivalry over the past three years that includes a pair of overtime thrillers.
Shaler – which defeated the Colts, 15-14, for the WPIAL title last season – may be the favorite in Division II entering the year.
“They were young last season,” Gould said. “They have gotten bigger, faster and stronger.”
Chartiers Valley is not shying away from competition this season. Despite a strong Division II slate, the Colts have scheduled games with Division I's Mt. Lebanon, Oakland Catholic, Peters Township and Upper St. Clair.
Having a tough schedule during the regular season should help Chartiers Valley reach its ultimate goal – a WPIAL championship.
“You can't teach competitiveness,” Gould said. “They have the biggest hearts and most passion. These girls come to me with this competitiveness. It makes my job easier when you have girls striving to be the best.”