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Girls’ Lacrosse

by Marc Narducci

Bishop Eustace Crusaders

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Nicole Lankford is a Marquette recruit. Other experienced players include senior midfielders Nicole Braungart and Morgan Wright, senior goalie Erin Schmenski, junior defender Taylor Baranowsky, senior defender Erin Logue and senior Mel Vasso. Others to watch include sophomores Kristen Kelbon and Kylie Primeau and junior midfielder Mikaela Gekas-Robinson.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Defending champion Haddonfield offers the biggest challenge in the Olympic Conference Freedom Division.

OUTLOOK: The Crusaders should remain a contender for a division title. Coach Kat Burke-Esposito has built this program into a Top 10 contender in a very brief time and the Crusaders should be again this season.

Camden Catholic Fighting Irish

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior attack Shannon McCormick was a second-team all-conference choice who had 25 goals, five assists, 20 ground balls and 25 draw controls. The offense will revolve around her this season. Senior goalie Tracy Austin and senior attack Claire Higgins are the others with ample varsity experience.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Haddonfield and Bishop Eustace are the teams to beat in the Olympic Freedom.

OUTLOOK: The Irish lost too much to graduation to be a contender. If Camden Catholic can approach the .500 level, it will be a successful season.

Cherokee Chiefs

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Defender Kayce Haverstick is a Marquette recruit while attack Michelle Gonzales is a Monmouth recruit who was a second-team all-conference performer. Other returning starters are defender Haley McCarthy, midfielder Shannon Ruffalo and midfielder Lauren Thomas. Key returning letter winners are Kasey Maguire and Christine DiLullo. Junior midfielder Caitlyn O’Brien is a key newcomer up from the JV.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Washington Township and Lenape are expected to be the main contenders in the Olympic American.

OUTLOOK: The Chiefs can’t be discounted as a contender, but they aren’t as experienced as the above mentioned frontrunners. Still, this should be a highly competitive team, able to beat anybody in the division.

Cherry Hill East Cougars

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Returning three-year starters include: seniors midfielder Becca Taub, junior midfielder Caitlin Delaney and senior defender Natalie DeLuca. Other returning starters are senior attack Alexa DiPiero and defender Alex Hartey. Key letter winners are Catherine Hartman and Erica Hansen. Among newcomers to watch are midfielder Emily Johnson and sophomore attack Alisa Verratti.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Lenape, Washington Township and Cherokee are the teams to beat in the Olympic American.

OUTLOOK: The Cougars graduated three players who had at least 100 career goals and two other players who were four and three-year starters, so matching last year’s 9-8 record would be an excellent accomplishment.

Cherry Hill West Lions

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Lauren Anderson was a first-team all-conference choice after scoring 84 goals. Other key veterans are senior attack Dominique Giampietro, senior defender Grace MacDonald, junior midfielder Kristine Thomas, junior attack Nicolette Graham and sophomore defender Mary Smythe. Sophomore attack Erin Redmond also gained valuable varsity experience.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: There are many top teams in the Olympic Conference, headed by Shawnee, Washington Township and Clearview.

OUTLOOK: The Lions lost six starters from last year so they may be in transition. After winning six games last year, a good accomplishment would be matching or exceeding that win total this season.

Eastern Vikings

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior midfielder Kaitlyn Ogg was the team MVP and a first-team all-Conference choice. Junior midfielder Danielle La Rocca was a second-team choice. Other returning letter winners include senior defender Amanda Cooper, junior defender Stephanie Byrne, junior midfielder Mariel Haubrich, senior attack Serena Hitchins, junior attack Alexa Rubino and sophomore goalie Brittany Reed. Newcomers to watch include sophomore defenders Karlee Spirit and Mackenzie Mlkvy, junior midfielders Alexis D’Amico and Miranda Altringer, sophomore Lindsay Fleischer and freshmen Austyn Cuneo and Samantha Mlkvy.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Lenape, Cherokee and Washington Township are the teams to beat in the division.

OUTLOOK: The Vikings lost seven seniors from a 14-8 team, but despite a difficult schedule, improvement is possible, especially with so many young players. Eastern won’t be listed as a favorite, but if the young players click, this could an outside contender in the American Division.

Gloucester Catholic Rams

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Three juniors are the foundation of the team. Amy Kohout had 19 goals. Kelly Coppola is the defensive leader. Natalie DiCarlo had 18 goals. Other key juniors are defender Kathleen Golden, midfielders Casey Kupcha and Gabrielle Sclocchini (seven goals), defender Abby Murphy, attack Brittany Cogan (17 goals) and attack Jen Fanelli and sophomore defender Morgan Masiejczyk.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Haddonfield and Bishop Eustace are among the teams providing the top competition.

OUTLOOK: The Rams were 3-13 in their first year and made good strides. Coach Peter Peterson has the program going in the right direction, but the Rams appear at least a year away from contention.

Haddonfield Bulldogs

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Maddie Kiep was a consensus all-South Jersey midfielder who had 34 goals and 24 assists. She will continue her education and lacrosse career at Cornell. Three second-team all-conference players are senior attack Laurel Falana, senior midfielder Carolynn Clark and junior attack Gretchen Kiep. Other returning starters are junior attack Taylor Ng, and senior defenders Kellie Riley and Natalie Watson. Among the key letter winners are sophomores Tenaya Clark and Taylor Jacobs.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Once again Bishop Eustace will be the main contenders for a division title.

OUTLOOK: Haddonfield went 18-2, won the division last year, and will be a major threat to repeat. Coach Jessica Blake has done a great job in a short period of time developing this into one of South Jersey’s premier programs and the Bulldogs will be a contender for a sectional title as well.

Lenape Indians

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Emmy Duffey was hurt last season but has 88 career goals. Lizzie Duffey had 32 goals, seven assists and 87 ground ball pickups last year. Senior attack Carly Walters had 39 goals and 34 assists. Classmate Caroline Huelster made 209 saves in goal. Two key returning senior defenders are Mary Kate Bowe and Melissa Natanni. Junior Olivia Streinlein had 43 goals. Classmate Becky Daub started every game and had seven goals. Two key returning junior defenders are Hunter Gray and Morgan Long. Returning sophomores are Rena Carabases (28 goals, five assists), Nicole Donnelly (17 goals) and Courtney Norton (17 goals). Key letter winners include five juniors: defender Colleen Cunningham, attack Maggie Reilly, defenders Kate Decker and Mary Tandourjian and goalie Casey Jones.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Washington Township and Cherokee should again field strong teams, making it an interesting race in the Olympic Conference American Division and Group 4.

OUTLOOK: The Indians were 9-9 last season despite suffering some key injuries. Now coach Jill McCarthy’s team looks for improvement and to contend for a division and sectional title.

Moorestown Quakers

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Stephanie Toy is not only one of the top players in the state, but an all-American candidate. She scored 72 goals last year and is headed to Notre Dame. Senior midfielder Haleigh Dalmass will attend USC on a lacrosse scholarship. Other seniors who have made college commitments are attack Nikke McMonagle (Rutgers), defender Elizabeth Johnson (Lehigh), attack Lindsay Goldblatt (Colgate), attack Carly Taglienti (Washington & Lee) and defender Marissa Randazzo (Fairfield). Junior midfielder Megan Kelly has made a verbal commitment to Penn while sophomore midfielders Marie McCool and Sydney Dalmass are other key returning players.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Usually it’s Shawnee, if they happen to meet in the postseason. Other than that, Moorestown has ruled in South Jersey.

OUTLOOK: The Quakers won the state Group 3 title and will again make a run for the No. 1 team in the state. Coach Deanna Knobloch will be reaching yet another milestone as she enters the season with a 399-25-4 career record.

Moorestown Friends Foxes (pictured)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior goalie Alea Couch made 141 saves. Senior Sophia DePaulis had five goals and 12 assists. Senior Lara Savon had 10 ground balls. Other veterans include senior Julie Dunnigan, senior Danielle Magaziner (15 goals, nine assists), senior Laura Bader (10 goals, 10 assists), juniors Kailey Burgess, Kaitlyn Koste, Nicole Hovatter and Lauren Lowe (21 ground balls), along with sophomores Vicki Geyer and Noelle Smith (23 goals, 10 assists).

BIGGEST COMPETITION: The Shipley School, the alma mater of new Moorestown Friends coach Paige Dougherty, along with Germantown Friends and Friends Central, appear to be the main contenders.

OUTLOOK: Dougherty brings a lot of enthusiasm, after serving as an assistant coach at Lebanon Valley College, but she inherits a team that was hit hard by graduation, losing eight seniors. Even though this will be sort of a rebuilding year, there are a dozen players with experience, which means Moorestown Friends will be competitive, but not considered a contender.

Seneca Golden Eagles

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Goalie Mary Narozanick was a second-team all-conference selection. Other returning starters are juniors Danielle Hubbs, Kimberly Richer, Morghan Thornton, Sarah Regn and Caroline Royston. Players who saw time on varsity and JV last year were juniors Samantha Ricca and Caitlyn Carty, and sophomores Jamie Zangli and Ellie Blythe. Up from JV are junior Jessica Molowski and sophomore Jackie Kelso and three players from the freshman squad.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Kingsway enters the season as the Olympic National Division favorite.

OUTLOOK: The Golden Eagles were hit hard by graduation from a 17-4 team that won the division title. Despite all the players lost, the Golden Eagles should still contend. The key is the development of what is a deep junior class for coach Morgan Crothers.

Shawnee Renegades

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Nicole Troost is among the top players in South Jersey and has 146 career goals. She is a University of Massachusetts recruit. Senior defender Alexis Martin was a first-team all-conference choice. Junior Shannon Nugent returns in the midfield. Senior Keri White is coming off knee surgery and it’s hoped she will be ready for the season. She is a Coastal Carolina recruit. Among the key juniors is Glade Nugent, who was a varsity reserve last year.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: When it comes to the postseason, it’s always Moorestown, among the top lacrosse rivalries in South Jersey.

OUTLOOK: The Renegades were 16-4 and won the Olympic Conference Patriot Division title and will be favored again. They should again be among the top five teams in South Jersey. Marisa McCormick, who coached in 2009 and was an assistant the past two years, returns as head coach and the program should continue to be among the best in the area.

Washington Township Minutemaids

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Returning first-team all-conference performers are senior midfielders Megan Tiernan (45 goals, 10 assists) and Christina Brennan (36 goals, nine assists), senior defender Alyssa “Lou” Kalitz, and junior goalie Merredith Bechler (84 saves). Senior midfielder Nicole Tiernan (18 goals, four assists) was a second-team choice. In addition, Brittany Bollendorf had 27 goals and six assists, while Kylie Calandra added seven goals and two assists.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Lenape is the biggest obstacle to contend for the American Division and S.J. Group 4 titles. Cherokee also could be a threat.

OUTLOOK: Township won both the Olympic American and S.J. Group 4 championships and the Minutemaids have enough key players to make a serious title run for both titles. Coach Sandy Stockl (203-119-10) is among the best in South Jersey and her team should enjoy the same status this season.

Click here for the spring schedules.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family’s High School Spring Sports Preview, January, 2012.
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