Tonawanda News — Losing in the league finals is crushing for any team, but for a team with 12 seniors — 10 of which were starters — it is even more so.
The Mount St. Mary girls lacrosse team went through just that last season, and while there is a ton of roster turnover, coach Marissa Dauria expects the Thunder to compete for another Monsignor Martin Association title this season.
The Thunder graduated All-WNY second teamer Shannon Pelitera, the 2013 News Player of the Year. Mt. St. Mary also graduated defender Stephanie Collins and midfielder Gabriela D’Aguiar, who were both All-MMA first team selections.
Despite graduating nearly their entire starting lineup, the two girls that return for the Thunder were among the best in the league last season. Attack Olivia Macdonald returns for her junior season along with midfielder Catherine Meegan. Dauria also expects senior midfielder/attack Jessica Hart — who is in her third year on the varsity — to be a big contributor.
“We’re trying to get back to the finals and hopefully right last year’s wrong,” Dauria said.
The North Tonawanda girls lacrosse team hasn’t been able to practice outside yet this year, but coach Brandon Schmitt has taken the indoor practice as an opportunity to emphasize skills that can be practiced indoors.
“I’m trying to put an emphasis on moving the ball out and maintaining ball possession,” Schmitt said. “I think if we can do that we have a better chance at winning some games.”
The Lady Jacks went 2-10 last year and graduated midfielder Megan Hels and defenseman Cara Porto. But Schmitt is excited about senior attack Carley Herberger. He says he has seen outstanding things from her and that she has become a top notch player.
He also spoke highly of senior midfielder Tea Jastzenski and sophomore attack/midfielder Desiree Doucette. While Schmitt is seeing improvement in the team’s passing and its ball movement, the indoor practices have prevented him from working on longer passes, ground balls and breakouts because of the space limitations.