2019 H.S. girls' lacrosse preview capsules

ECC DIVISION I

East Lyme

Coach: Phil Schneider (10th season)

Key returnees: Sr. M Julia Bates, Sr. D Sarah Christensen, Sr. D Laura Agbayani, Sr. G Maya Rose, Jr. A Kristen Healy, Sr. A Maeve Counter, Jr. A Abby Mountain, Jr. M Anna Johnson, So. M Caroline Real, So. D Ellie McCoy, Sr. D Erin Bauman, Sr. M Sammie Valakos.

Top newcomers: Sr. A Megan Bauman, Sr. A Daven Roberts, Jr. A Natale Taylor, Jr. M Sophie Taylor, So. M Dylan Park, So. A Nancy Alden, So. A Izzy Mazzi.

Outlook: The Vikings' string of 11 consecutive ECC tournament titles came to an end at the hands of Stonington, so returning to the top of the conference is a major goal for East Lyme, which must replace Karlie Rowe, the program's career scoring leader, but returns a veteran cast from a 12-8 season a year ago led by Bates and Agbayani, a pair of All-Area picks in 2018. The Vikings also welcome back Valakos, who missed the 2018 season with a knee injury, and have an experience defense led by Rose in goal with Agbayani, Christensen, Erin Bauman and McCoy in front of her.

Fitch

Coach: Michael Luethy (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. A Zoe Pearse, Sr. M Emily Catlett, Jr. G Molly Bresnahan, Jr. D Alyssa McIlquham, Jr. A Maggie O'Leary, So. M Jessica Russo, Sr. D Elizabeth Clang, So. D Clair Luethy.

Top newcomers: Fr. M Rita Sefransky, Fr. M Nora Casey, Fr. A Caroline Podurgeil, Fr. M Brigitte O'Leary.

Outlook: Luethy takes over a program on solid footing. The Falcons went 10-8, losing the Class M second round to eventual state champion Branford, but return a solid cast led by Maggie O'Leary, an All-Area pick. Bresnahan provides experience in goal while O'Leary, Pearse and Catlett give the Falcons an explosive attack as they look for a competitive season in the ECC's newly-realigned Division I with East Lyme, NFA and Woodstock.

Norwich Free Academy

Coach: Taylor Shannon (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. M-D Mackenzie Shrewsbury, So. M Jillian Brunelli.

Top newcomers: Sr. A Mirra Fontaine, Jr. M Mackenzie Teper, Jr. A Maeve Jacobs, So. M Ryleigh Christianson, So. M Bridget Hinsch.

Outlook: The Wildcats went 8-8 last season and graduated five starters, including ECC all-stars Katie Kelly and Jessica Bryan. Shannon takes over a young team, but one with plenty of talent and versatility. "We have a core group of strong athletes that will learn to play together," Shannon said. "As the season progresses we hope to be competitive in a strong league."

 

ECC DIVISION II

Ledyard

Coach: William Glenn (10th season)

Key returnees: Sr. M Cassidy Carroll, Sr. M Maddie Pipech, Sr. M Sabrina Mitchell, Sr. A Miranda Pearce, Sr. A Missy Archer, Sr. D Cat Jackson, Jr. D Lexi LaPerle, Jr. D Jade Zeeman, Jr. G Kayleigh Woomer.

Outlook: Megan Larmann, an ECC all-star and All-Area midfielder, is the biggest graduation loss for the Colonels, who moved down to Division II this season and are joined by defending ECC tournament champion Stonington, Waterford and Bacon Academy. Glenn does, however, have a large senior class, many who are three-year varsity performers, and he hopes that experience will help Ledyard qualify for the Class S state tournament after finishing 6-10 a year ago.

Stonington

Coach: Jeff Medeiros (19th season)

Key returnees: Sr. M Kate Johnson, Sr. A Hannah Lamb, Sr. A Emma Sabbadini, Sr. D Madison Cassell, Sr. D Daisey Williams.

Top newcomers: Jr. A Kathryn Logel, So. M Megan Detwiler, Jr. M Abigail Remmert, Fr. M Ivy Goodman, Fr. M Katherine Glenn, Dr. D Dillan Griscom.

Outlook: The Bears won their first ECC tournament title in 2018 and carried that over into the Class S tournament, reaching the quarterfinals and finishing 15-5. They will remain an ECC contender in 2019 with a veteran group led by a pair of All-Area returnees, Johnson and Sabbatini, who will be joined by Lamb to lead a dangerous attack. Stonington may endure a few growing pains early as Medeiros works in some new players on defense, but once that unit comes together the Bears will remain a threat to make a deep postseason run.

Waterford

Coach: Christine Dulin (1st year)

Key returnees: Sr. M Grace Briggs, Sr. G Courtney Dishaw, Sr. M Olivia Gianakos, Sr. M Ashley Brandt, Jr. A Gabbi Stack, So. D Carly Holdridge.

Outlook: Dulin takes over a Waterford program that features three players that have committed to Division I schools — Briggs, Dishaw and Gianakos. Dulin expects Briggs, Gianakos and Brandt and Stack to provide the bulk of the offense and Holdridge will anchor a young defense in front of Dishaw, an ECC all-star last season along with Gianakos. The Lancers are coming off a 13-5 season and will rely on some inexperienced defenders to challenge Stonington for the Division II title.

 

ECC DIVISION III

Montville

Coach: Kristin Ventresca (7th season)

Key returnees: Jr. M Alexis DeLucia, Sr. A Mackenzie Ullrich, Sr. D Katarina Turchetta, Sr. D Megan Martin, Sr. D Nia Muckenthaler, Sr. A Chloe Smith, Sr. A Morgan Orr.

Top newcomers: Fr. M Grace Sanford, Fr. A Maddie Koning, So. D Felicia Bower.

Outlook: The Indians look to bounce back after a disappointing 2-14 season and there's reason for optimism because Ventresca returns all but one starter and has a strong senior class. Montville is now part of Division III with New London, St. Bernard, the Wheeler/Grasso Tech co-op and Griswold and should challenge for a division title. Ventresca is also excited about a talented freshman class which will add depth and have an immediate impact.

New London

Coach: Chelsea Phillips (1st season)

Key returnees: Jr. M Desiree Johnson, Jr. M Olivia Yard, So. M Emilia Skrabacz, Jr. M Taijana Green, Jr. A Tianna Chester, Sr. D Azzy Brown.

Top newcomers: Fr. D Brooke DiGiacomo, Fr. D Nadya Murphy.

Outlook: The Whalers make their varsity debut after gaining experience playing a predominately junior varsity schedule for the last four years. "We may not have the stick skills more experience teams have," Phillips said, "but our defense is solid, we have great field awareness and as team four years in the making we're excited and eager to compete at the varsity level."

St. Bernard

Coach: Patsy Fowler (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. D Victoria Hannaford, Sr. G Payton McCauley, Sr. M Bridget Feeley.

Top newcomer: Fr. M Lindsey Clement.

Outlook: The Saints went 5-11 a year ago against a difficult schedule. They will get some relief in the new Division III this season as Fowler takes over a program that has a real offense threat in Feeley and two veterans on defense in Hannaford and McCauley. "Some experienced players, plus some exciting young players, bodes well for the season," Fowler said.

Wheeler/Grasso Tech

Coach: Allison Reyes (10th season)

Key returnees: Sr. M Gracie Anderson, Sr. M Daniela Roy, Sr. D Sarah Spracklin, Jr. A Savannah Johnson, Jr. D Lauren Rockwell.

Top newcomers: Sr. D Kelly Duarte, Jr. Amanda Regine, Fr. Ellen Kappes, Fr. Katelyn Melinoski, Fr. Leah Pion.

Outlook: Wheeler, which is now a cooperative program with Grasso Tech, returns to the ECC as a Division III member after finishing 2-10 playing an independent schedule in 2018. "We we continue to build the program," said Reyes, who will rely on her experience senior class. "We look forward to being part of the ECC again."

 

OTHERS

Williams

Co-coaches: Allie Buckley, Chris Emmerson

Key returnees: Sr. A Caitlyn Kressley, Sr. M Rachel Luxton, Jr. M Audrey Matson, Jr. A Sophie Salgar, Jr. D Lexi Day.

Outlook: Matson, an All-Area selection last year, returns to lead the Blues, who expect to remain competitive in the SENE despite having only one returning senior (Kressley). Kressley, Matson, Luxton and Salgar give Williams a potent offensive attack and there will be young players counted on to step in an fill key spots, particularly on defense.

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