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Sewickley Academy girls lacrosse in rebuilding mode

| Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 5:54 p.m.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Academy's Maggie McClain defends against Franklin Regional's Ellen Gray during a game on Thursday, May 1, 2014, at Nichols Field in Edgeworth.

Rebuilding, the Sewickley Academy girls lacrosse team (3-9-1 overall and 3-6-1 in Division I, Section 2) expects to miss the playoffs for the first time since joining the WPIAL in 2005.

Of 19 players, only three are seniors.

“We are young (in) both experience and age,” longtime coach Cheryl Ann Lassen said.

“This is the first year for me to be on a rebuilding team,” senior co-captain and fourth-year player Olivia Ragoowansi said.

Senior midfielder Maggie McClain leads the Panthers with 48 goals and eight assists.

Junior midfielder Kayla Guerin (32 goals and nine assists) trails.

Junior Jackie Bushee has a 45 percent save average as goalie.

“The team is really improving,” said junior defender Ellen Clouse, noting the Panthers need to spread out more and communicate better. “We know what we have to work on.”

Clouse enjoys building for the future.

“I'm excited,” she said. “We have (many) freshmen.

“Even after I graduate, I'm looking forward to seeing how the team will do.”

Sophomore Erin Sebastian likes she has gained experience as a goalie and an attack.

Lassen shares her players' optimism.

“We have been developing as a team (and) learning how to be confident,” she said.

Sewickley Academy, the WPIAL runner-up in 2011, lost in the first round of the Division I playoffs to eventual champion Peters Township, 20-8, last year.

The Panthers have posted wins over Seneca Valley, North Allegheny and Franklin Regional. They lost to Friends' Central, Mt. Lebanon, Franklin Regional, Pine-Richland (2), Shady Side Academy, Seneca Valley, Quaker Valley and Fox Chapel. They also tied Fox Chapel, 11-11, last week.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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