Montville girls' lacrosse creeps closer to ECC D-III title
Montville — Alexis DeLucia and a few of her teammates took down the canopy pop-up tent that covered the scorer’s table after Montville’s girls’ lacrosse game Thursday, the kind of grunt work usually reserved for underclassmen.
DeLucia is a junior, and she’s one of the Indians’ catalysts.
“There’s no ‘me’ on this team,” Montville head coach Kristin Ventresca said after her team beat New London 19-10.
The Indians (10-1, 7-0) are a win away from clinching a share of the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division III title, a new division this season. Their success is notable given they finished 2-14 last season.
“We graduated three seniors, one starter,” Ventresca said. “So it’s essentially the same team, plus the new freshman. It’s just a completely different attitude. Everybody is here for each other and it shows. Everybody has matured, and everybody wants to play for everyone else.
“It’s just a different mentality. This is the most amazing 33 girls I’ve ever coached, and it’s been seven years (with this program). This is a great team.”
DeLucia had six goals and four assists, Lindsey Beavan had three goals and an assist, and Maddie Gould scored three times for Montville. Also, Ashley Rewers had a goal and two assists, Nia Muckenthalar and Morgan Orr both scored twice, and Mackenzie Ullrich had a goal and an assist.
“It is a big change, but I wouldn’t say surprised,” DeLucia said about this season’s success. “Deep down, we all knew we were good enough to have a season like we’re having right now. Surprised, no, but excited, definitely.”
Ventresca said, “We had a hard season last year. We were expecting to go far last year because it’s essentially the same cast of characters, but things didn’t go our way and we couldn’t figure out how to pull ourselves out of the negativity.
“This year, one mistake doesn’t define us. It’s okay. Let’s get better, and they come to practice every day and they want to fix things, and they want to get better, and they want to work harder, and they want to do it for every single person (on the team).”
This is the first varsity season for New London (3-4, 3-2). The sport is still new to many of the Whalers with head coach Chelsea Phillips starting a youth program in 2015.
“It’s been good,” Phillips said about this season. “It’s definitely a challenge. … Now that we’re varsity, for some of the girls it’s a big step up. It’s just more competitive than what they’re used to.”
Desiree Johnson had six goals and an assist for the Whalers and Emilia Skrabacz and Stefani Tramontano-McGuire both scored twice.
“Most of our girls are picking up (lacrosse) at the high school level,” Phillips said. “This is the first year they’ve ever played. Considering that, they’re doing great. ... I’m proud of them.”
Montville started putting some distance between it and New London with 3 minutes, 45 seconds left in the first half. DeLucia, Gould and Rewers scored successive goals to give the Indians a 9-5 halftime lead.
DeLucia and Beaven alternated scoring twice in less than two minutes to push Montville’s lead to 14-6 with 20:42 remaining in the game.
Johnson scored back-to-back goals to cut the Whalers’ deficit to 15-9 with 10:31 left.
DeLucia, Muckenthalar and Orr scored consecutive goals to ice the game for Montville.
“They’re having fun,” Ventresca said. “We make sure that we’re having fun on the sidelines. It shouldn’t be a job. It should be something they should look forward to going to. Last year, I think it felt like a job to a lot of them. This year, we have fun.”