Lacrosse season returns in Connecticut for the first time in nearly two years on Saturday, giving the local girls lacrosse teams a chance to start new narratives with so much time passed since their last season.
St. Paul was the only one of the six teams from the area finished with a winning record in 2019 and will look to continue its success from previous season. Conversely, his will be the second season for Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern as separate lacrosse teams as they both try to lay the base for successful programs.
Here is a sneak peek at this year’s girls lacrosse teams before the start of the season:
Head coach: Kyle Phelan (6th season)
2019 season: 4-11, missed state tournament
Key losses: Makayla Bunker (midfield/attack), Ashley Watson (midfield), Jade Longo (attack), Jayda Almodovar (defense), Erika Santilli (midfield), Corinna Marsh (attack), Allison Jessie (defense), Stephanie Poulin (attack), Georgia Labutis (attack), Ashleigh Norton (defense), Julia Tenan (attack), Haley Riley (attack), Elizabeth Hintz (goalie).
Key returners: Jeanna Lowe (senior, defense), Sadye Kowalczyk (senior, midfield), Lexi Michaud (senior, midfield), Ella Ward (senior, attack), Emma Quintero – (senior, defense), Alyah Rodriguez-Warren (junior, goaltender), Lily Hansen (senior, midfield), Sydney Rodriguez (junior, defense/attack/midfield), Abby Duval (sophomore, attack), Madison Secor (junior, attack), Rachel Wygant (sophomore, mid), Emily Lowe (attack/midfield/defense), Madeline Ross (junior, defense), Ella Watson (junior, defense), Abigail Quintero (attack), Brooke Watson (freshman, attack/midfield).
Outlook: The Rams were dead-set on making the state tournament in 2020, for the first time in anyone on the team’s high school career, and had been putting in the necessary work to make that goal a reality. With some experienced players coming back and a whole year to focus on getting to the tournament, this Central team should look much improved from previous seasons.
Central will need to replace the scoring off all-conference attacker Jade Longo, but are equipped with many players ready to put shots on goal.
First game: April 13 vs. E.O. Smith
Head coach Kayla Policarpio (2nd season)
2019 season: 1-11, missed state tournament.
Key losses: Leah Policarpio, Amaya Massari, Samantha Ryan.
Key returners: Kate Kozikowski (senior), Lucy Winiarki (senior), Ciara Collins (junior).
Outlook: With two years off since winning one game in their first season as a solo program, the Lancers will look to start anew this year and make some strides towards qualifying for the postseason. Eastern is some of its experienced players from its last season including Ciara Collins, who earned all-conference honors as a freshman, as well as seniors Kate Kozikowski and Lucy Winiarski.
First game: April 12 vs. Newington
Head coach: Elaine Mancini (3rd season)
2019 season: 16-3, lost in first round of Class S tournament
Key losses: Emma Cretella (attack), Ashley Suzio (attack), Catherine Ciampi (midfield), Carolyn Del Debbio (midfield), Meg Fortier (defense), Olivia Stump (defense), Tori Bosio (attack), Christina Pisani (attack).
Key returners: Greta Panke (senior, attack), Cameron Baston (senior), Maddie Farrell (senior, defense), Megan Crean (junior, attack), Bella Peterson (junior, goaltender), Alexis Tierpack (junior, goaltender).
Outlook: The reigning Western Connecticut Lacrosse Conference champions notch a surprisingly experienced lineup led by four-year starter and Connecticut College-commit Greta Panke. Maddie Farrell, who will be playing defense at Salve Regina next year, adds strength on the back end for the Falcons who will look to post another strong campaign.
The team will be down four starters from its 2019 team along with even more talent that didn’t get to play in 2020, but head coach Elaine Mancini is excited for what her team can do this year.
“Most of our girls have only one season under their belt but our preseason has already been looking strong with the team definitely putting work in during the off season,” Mancini said. “It will be a challenging season but our motto for the year is to get better every day.”
First game: April 15 at Simsbury.
Head coach: David Sargent (first season)
2019 season: 8-9, lost in qualifying round of Class L tournament
Key losses: Anne Laone, Emma Doran, Brooke Lynch, Mackenzie Brown.
Key returners: Talie Richardson (senior), Grace DellaVecchia (senior), Olivia Mowrey-Sargent (senior)
Outlook: David Sargent will begin his first season at the helm of the Blue Knights as they come off of a .500 season in 2019. They will need to replace the production of all-conference players Brooke Lynch and Mackenzie Brown if they want to return to the state tournament again.
Southington has a smaller roster than past years, but will still be able benefit from depth and a strong senior class that remembers the season from two years ago.
First game: April 10 vs. Northwest Catholic
Head coach: Cassidy Goodwin (3rd season)
2019 season: 7-10, lost in qualifying round of Class S tournament
Key losses: Angel Perelli (midfield), Nadia Humen (goaltender), Hannah Grega (defense), Hannah Smolicz (defense), Mackenzie DiMauro (defense)
Key returners: Carly Grega (senior, midfield), Clare Mcgeever (junior, midfield), Emma Johnson (senior, attack).
Outlook: The Redcoats have a solid batch of returning players from their playoff team of two years ago, led by senior midfielder Carly Grega. They will be down former all-conference talent Angela Perelli, but there will be opportunities for many players on this team to step up and be difference makers.
First game: April 13 vs. RHAM
Head coach: Allison Hoffman (3rd season)
2019 season: 12-7, lost in first round of Class M tournament
Key losses: Maya Gajowiak, Reagan Pelton, Kaylee Allenl
Key returners: Kali Lessard (senior, goaltender).
Outlook: Newington had a strong regular season in 2019 led by second-team all-state Maya Gajowiak. With her and other players from two years ago no longer in high school, this team will look to many new faces to make an impact on the field and keep the team competitive. With senior Kali Lessard anchoring the team from between the pipes, the Nor’easters will be able to grow as a team from the goal line forward.
First game: April 12 at Bristol Eastern
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org