Girls lacrosse program is on the move
Coach reflects on 2014 while looking forward to 2015
BY JOSH LASHLEY
WEST MILFORD — It isn’t whether or not a team will suffer setbacks during a given season, it’s how a team responds to those setbacks that’s important.
As with many programs across the sports spectrum, the West Milford High School girl’s lacrosse squad had some tough losses on the field this spring. But, the Highlanders kept their resolve, continued to believe in one another and ultimately had a season for which they can be proud.
“When we played Wayne Hills (in the Passaic County Tournament semifinal round), they were 14-0 and we were 7-8,” West Milford head coach Michelle Lugerner said. “We finished the season 8-11 and they finished 19-1. What was impressive about the game was, for the first 20 minutes, we were able to hold them to a score of 3-2. Our zone defense proved to be a huge advantage for us, as we kept shutting them out. Their skill, experience and endurance started to take over, but we still played hard and as a team until the end of the game. Our goalie, Casey Butera along with our defense of Sophia Calise, Danielle Peck, Kate Schultz, Kelsey Harrison, Christina Hanratty and Kate McIntyre fought hard and stood their ground the whole game.
“Lakeland-last game of the season- again, similar to Hills, we entered the Lakeland game 8-10 and Lakeland was 17-3. Both of these teams are stiff completion, as they have very successful, well-developed programs. Our defense, especially Butera, really stepped up and continued to shut out their leading goal scorer. Casey had 22 saves for the game. She had the most successful game of the season. The girls played with heart and passion until the end.”
The Highlanders were defeated, 18-8, by Wayne Hills and 20-11 by Lakeland. A trio of seniors provided solid leadership throughout the season and Lugerner was also impressed with several student-athletes who will return to the team next year.
“The three seniors - Makenzie Brady, Jacy DiZenzo and Danielle Peck - leaving the program stepped up and demonstrated positive leadership throughout the season,” Lugerner said. “They showed leadership by demonstrating positive sportsmanship, good character and continued success in their positions on the field.
“Francesca Carnuccio, a sophomore, received the Coach’s Award this season for her continued improvement, hustle, and drive. Frannie is extremely coachable and always gave her all, no matter the circumstances. Samantha Maurer, a junior, it is evident that Sam worked hard in the off season. Whether in the game for five minutes or 50 minutes, Sam always fought hard and hustled through every play. Kelsey Harrison, a freshman, played youth last year and made a huge transition to varsity. She was on the starting varsity lineup this year on defense.”
Maurer, Carnuccio and Harrison are major reasons why Lugerner is looking forward to the 2015 season.
“Much optimism for next season comes from a newly developing team, which, this year consisted of several sophomores and freshmen,” Lugerner said. “I’m looking forward to the junior varsity girls bringing their all to tryouts next season, so they can earn their spot on the varsity team. I’m hopeful that the returning juniors will step up and show continued leadership and knowledge of the game, as well as leave a lasting mark in the program.”
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