No time to Re-Lax – Lowell Sun

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North Middlesex girls lacrosse senior co-captains Lindsay Swartz and Aimee Stairs are excited about the team’s chances heading into Mid-Wach C action this season. (Courtesy photo)

When it comes to local high school girls lacrosse, it seems to always start and finish with Chelmsford High School. In last year’s abbreviated season, the Lions finished 17-1, which included a heartbreaking loss to Franklin in a Div. 1 semifinal. The two previous seasons when games were played, 2019 and 2018, the Lions finished 20-5 and 22-3, both times losing in the state semi-final game again. In 2017, they finished 18-5, losing in the D1 North Sectional semi-finals. Thus over the last four seasons, the program has gone 77-14, winning three straight Division 1 Sectional titles.

Besides Chelmsford, fellow Merrimack Valley Conference rivals Lowell, Billerica and Tewksbury (Division 1) and Dracut (Division 2) all competed in last year’s open state tournament and all hope to get back to this year’s postseason, the newly designed statewide format.

In the DCL, Westford is hoping to get back to its successful ways behind talented midfielder Kendall Donovan.

Over in Central Mass, North Middlesex and Tyngsboro have always been two of the top teams in the Mid-Wach League and then in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference, Shawsheen previously won three straight league titles, before that streak ended last year.

In New Hampshire, Alvirne should be very competitive behind the duo of Halle Miller and Maddy Nicolosi, and Pelham, coming out of D3, has always been a state contender.

This year also marks a large amount of new coaches including: Ashley Tsoukalas (Billerica), Julio Pastrana (Gr. Lowell), Lisa Bentley (Littleton), Paul Doherty (Lowell Catholic), Stephen Strange (Nashoba Tech) and Chris Frissore (Wilmington).

Alvirne

League: New Hampshire Division 1

Senior Captains: Emma Fopiano, midfield; Halle Miller, midfield; Maddy Nicolosi, midfield.

Other Returning Letterwinners:

Seniors Elsa Ferullo, Sydney Nicholson, attack; Jordan Sweeney, defense; Junior Katherine Wasden, defense; Sophomores Ava Biskaduros, Gina Todisco, attack; Makayla Meehan, defense.

Promising Newcomers: Juniors Samantha Rausseo, Abigale St. Laurent; Sophomore goalie Alexa Krueger; freshman Addison Lemire.

Coach Carrie Casey (4th season): “I predict this season will be our best since 2019 ,with our 10 returning players and eight newcomers. We’ll be up against some very skilled and talented teams. Our defense, along with the leadership and positive energy presented by our seniors, is what will keep us in the game.”

Billerica

League: Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2

Last Year’s Record: 5-7

Senior Captains: Julia Trainor, Paige Murphy, Amanda MacLeod, midfield; Abigail White, defense/midfield.

Other Returning Letterwinners: Seniors Abby Cohen, Madison Vacaro, attack; Juniors Delaney Burns, attack; Madeline White, Molly Sances, defense; Sophomore Audrey Toce, attack/midfield; Freshmen Giovanna Gulinello, Sophia Jannoni, attack; Sara MacLeod, midfield; Grace Leyne, attack/midfield; Mia Barros, defense/midfield; Katelyn D’Agostino, goalie.

Promising Newcomers:  Sophomore Haleigh Cyrus, defense; freshmen Keira MacKenzie, attack; Keira Moore, goalie; 8th graders Cera Salter, Cassandra Gallagher, attack.

Coach Ashley Tsoukalas (1st year, 13th total): “With strong leadership in our senior class and talent all over the field, we are looking to work together to improve our record from last season. We have a strong defense and are quick through the midfield which translates perfectly into our offensive sets. The girls have been adjusting quickly to a new coaching system and are settling in nicely.”

Chelmsford

League: Merrimack Valley Conference Division 1

Last Year’s Record: 17-1

Captains: Seniors Julia Pitts, midfield; Sofia Balan, defense; Junior Amelia Kelley, midfield.

Other Returning Letterwinners: Juniors Remore Serra, Shaylee Wright, defense; Maggie Loeber, Annie Tyros, Caitlin Walsh, attack; Olivia Hall, Tori Apostolakes, midfield; Madeline Dumbar, goalie; Sophomore Taija Bell, defense.

Promising Newcomers: Junior Grace Campo, defense; Freshmen Jillian Martin, midfield; Katherine Morin, defense.

Coach Ashley Rokas (7th year): “We graduated a lot of seniors and starters from last year, but that shouldn’t be an issue for the Lions as we have a very strong junior class. I’m excited for them to make an impacted on the MVC this year. The leadership from our two seniors will be the key to our success. I’m excited to see what this season brings.”

Dracut

League: Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2

Senior Captains: Jessica St. George, midfield; Isabella Rossetti, attack.

Other Returning Letterwinners: Juniors Lindsey Cox, Megan McMeniman, Jillian Meeker, defense; Bella Grasso, Emma Sirois, attack; Jillian Meeker, defense; Alysha Hok, attack/midfield; Sophomores Samantha Teneriello, attack/midfield; Giulianna Rossetti, attack.

Promising Newcomers: Juniors Kasey Housman, goalie; Olivia Berggren, defense; Mackenzie Kukulski, midfield.

Coach Vanessa Porter (3rd season): “The girls are eager to hit the field together and grow as a team. We have a very young, talented and hard-working group. We’re excited to keep learning and growing throughout this whole season.”

Greater Lowell

League: Commonwealth Athletic Conference

Last Year’s Record: 5-8

Captains: Senior Athenna Moa, midfield; Junior Nellie Chan, defense.

Other Returning Letterwinners: Senior Kaelynn Tanner, attack; Sophomore Emily Sandelli, attack/middie.

Promising Newcomers: Seniors Aliza Som, defense/goalie; Alani Cintron, attack; Juniors Felicia Melendez, Mykaela Correia, midfield;

Ashleigh Santos, defense/attack; Davalyn Sanchez, goalie; Freshman Emma Finch, midfield.

Coach Julio Pastrana (1st year): “We have a lot of young talent and with our seniors if we play together, I think we can have a promising season, but it all has to starts with our defense.”

Littleton

League: Mid-Wach C

Senior Captains: Veda Hurley, Morgan LaFlemme, midfield.

Promising Newcomers: Seniors Taylor Donaghy, defense; Brittany Iversen, midfield; Kylie Beers, attack; Juniors Hannah Hoenshell, Emily Mizzono, midfield; Neva Martin, Kiera Miglani, Abigail Pandolfo, defense; Shea O’Brien, Amelia Rogers, attack; Freshmen Brooke O’Brien, midfield; Emma Dressel, attack; Kailey Hannon, goalie.

Coach Lisa Bentley (1st season): “Promising outlook. Young team but skilled.”

Lowell

League: Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2

Last Year’s Record: 8-5

Senior Captains: Cate Shanahan, Casey Mitchell, midfield; Nora Funaro, attack; Lilly Cluff, midfield/defense.

Other Returning Letterwinners: Seniors Tori Farley, Ashley Valente, attack; Alicia Mansaray, midfield; Jiangely Paulino, defense; Junior Tess Hollingsworth, attack; Sophomores Erin Asselin, goalie/defense; Annika Couillard, attack; Sara Skaff, goalie; Jacqueline Peirce, midfield.

Promising Newcomers: Senior Isabella Brink; Junior Stephany Delima; Sophomores Madeline Breau, Isabella Goncales, Diana Heung, Alena Im, Karen Lopez, Princess Onyenwe; Freshmen Keanalee Fuentes, Elizabeth Guthrie, Amada-Rebecca Moundele, Laney Ra, Melissa Rasakham, Mia Simuang.

Coach Keri Bomil (9th season): We have a talented group of ladies this year with all of them bringing something different to the table. We have a lot of newcomers this year that are eager to play and learn the game of lacrosse. The girls have been working hard and getting to know each other the last two weeks. We hope to have just as a successful season as last year.”

Lowell Catholic

League: Commonwealth Athletic Conference

Senior Captain: Anaiyah Rivera, midfield.

Other Returning Letterwinners: Seniors Maddie Hugo, Charlotte Maury, Jacqueline Barton, McKenna Green, Audrey Sullivan, Morgan Armstrong; Juniors Taylor West, Catherine Antwi.

Promising Newcomers: Sophomores Reese Geary, Lily Hugo, Eva Warren, Emma McBournie, Meredith Morey, Rylie Hogan, Nora Tomaino, Mackenzie Beaulieu; Freshman Sofia Pescatore.

Nashoba Tech/Innovation Academy

League: Commonwealth Athletic Conference

Last Year’s Record: 7-7

Senior Captains: Ashley Fahey, Kirsten Jones, midfield.

Other Returning Letterwinners: Ayva Parsons, Sadie Coleman-Plourde, Sam Caputo, Peyton Lupoli, attack; Makayla Dingle, defense/attack; Cassidy Bilawchuk, attack/goalie; Maddie Darlington, Lee Ann Parris, Amanda Gately, midfield; Alex Butters, Emily Garcia, Isadora Durkin, Abey Steers, Maria Bonianna, Isabella Palmer, Skyla Robson, defense; Amber King, goalie.

Coach Stephen Strange (1st year): “Our team is a mix of experienced upperclassman with freshman new to the game of lacrosse. Our two Captains are returning, with our leading scorer from last season Ashley Fahey (36-31-67) leading the way. Our success will be based on our preseason conditioning and hard work and also on our kids staying healthy all year, as we do not have many substitutes to fill in this season. We have a competitive schedule and will need to be focused to meet our team goals which are: to qualify for the district state tournament; to win our league and ultimately to win the state championship in Division 4.”

North Middlesex

League: Mid-Wach C

Last Year’s Record: 8-6

Senior Captains: Lindsay Swartz, midfield; Aimee Stairs, attack.

Other Returning Letterwinners: Ashlee Smith, Faith Mazza, Kara Keins and Shannon Nadeau.

Promising Newcomers: Seniors Taylor Poindexter, Carly Shugrue, Abby Carpenter; Junior Hailey Palmer; Sophomores Ava Roussea, Abigail LaCourse, Madison Rausch; Freshmen Isabella Young, Riley Smith, Maddy Johnson.

Coach Kelly Marciano (2nd season): “We lost seven players to graduation, looking to rebuild and come together early in the season, staying healthy will be key. We have great team chemistry and work ethic with great leaders who set the tone.”

Pelham

League: New Hampshire Division 3

Last Year’s Record: 10-5

Returning Letterwinners: Seniors Resse Patchen, attack; Emma Beanland, midfield; Haileigh LaFlamme, Molly Pratt, defense; Juniors Taylor Galgay, Hannah Deschene, attack; Sophia Joncas, Kate Burke, midfield.

Promising Newcomers: Freshmen Addie Breault, goalie; Alexis Breault, midfield; Sophomore Jillian LaBlanc, midfield.

Coach John Fichera (8th season, 26th total): “This is going to be an exciting new season for the Lady Pythons. Although the program is fielding only 19 players this year, we have 12 returning players and seven first-year talents joining our team. The experience of our returning players will help pace our season through the challenging D3 schedule.”

Shawsheen Tech

League: Commonwealth Athletic Conference

Last Year’s Record: 9-3

Senior Captain: Devin Sweeney, midfield.

Other Returning Letterwinners: Seniors Lee Singer, Abbie Wood, Ashley Talbot, Lexi Vio, attack; Kasey McFadden, Gaby Ortiz, Darielle Wilson, sr., defense; Juniors Kiley McFadden, Kerry Brown, midfield; Makayla Melanson, defense.

Promising Newcomers: Sophomores Riley Rourke, defense; Emerson Glover, Morgan Glover, midfield; Alexis Fox, attack; Emma McDermott, goalie; Freshmen Fiona Rexford, Judith Sloman, midfield; Pieris Fowler, goalie.

Coach Alex O’Reilly (7th season): “I am eager to see this group get out on the fields and compete. The seniors have created a strong culture already, and they are excited to finally have a normal season following the last two years of COVID modifications. We are going to have some strong competition in the CACs this year with Lowell Catholic, Mystic Valley, and Essex Tech so we are ready to get to work and looking forward to those games.”

Tewksbury

League: Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2

Last Year’s Record: 2-12

Captains: Seniors Kati Polimeno, midfield; Maeve Cahill, attack; Junior Victoria Catanzano, defense.

Other Returning Letterwinners: Seniors Jessica Driscoll, midfield; Aliana Kennen, Ashley Demers, defense; Michelle Kusmaul, goalie; Juniors Jamie Constantino, attack; Riley Sheehan, midfield; Sophomores Katerina Schille, attack; Mackenzie Hickey, defense.

Promising Newcomers: Juniors Victoria Lavargna, Olivia Ward, Abigail Mahoney, defense; Sophomores Ava Nordburch, Reilley Whalen, attack; Skylar Auth. Freshmen Emily Picher, midfield; Paige Crowley, Julia Moura, Addison Tanguay, attack; Sarah Doherty, attack/defense.

Coach Erin Murphy (4th season): “I’m excited for what this upcoming season could hold for our team. We had an amazing turnout at tryouts and are now carrying a 48-player program between the JV and Varsity teams. This allows me to have a 23-player roster with two goalies. This opens up a lot of options for us on the field and build a really solid bench of players to utilize. I’m proud of the six seniors I have coming in this season. They are quite special to me. I was able to coach them all as 8th graders during my season as the JV coach. They’ve all come such a long way as both players and young women. All are strong starters on my roster, and I know will continue to be valuable assets to the team.”

Tyngsboro

League: Mid-Wach-B

Last Year’s Record: 14-3

Senior Captains: Emma Angelo, Courtney Hannes, midfield.

Other Returning Letterwinners: Seniors Brynn Goulet, midfield; Gia Pularo-Spazioso, defense; Juniors Delaney Salerno, Sydney Hannes, defense; Sophomores Rachel Savoie, attack; Claire Shambley, goalie; Freshmen Bella Adams, Kaitlyn Guilmette, midfield; Grace Angelo, attack.

Promising Newcomers: Sophomore Ava Lanzillo, defense; Freshmen Lillian Gikas, Anna Poulios, attack; Katelyn Fugazzotto, defense.

Coach Angelina Sutherland (5th year): “While we are lacking in numbers this year compared to others, we have a small group of extremely dedicated players. We will have to adjust our style of play, learn to fill in where it is needed, and doing this will help us to grow into a stronger, closer team. We are excited to be back.”

Westford

League: Dual County League

Senior Captains: Kendall Donovan, midfield; Carley Watson, attack.

Other Returning Letterwinners: Seniors Alex Ryan, Abbie Gibson, attack; Hannah Macey, Olivia Davies, Caroline Lynch, defense; Juniors Ali Mammola, defense; Lauren Smith, midfield; Hannah Kennedy, attack.

Promising Newcomers: Juniors Erin Blatt, goalie; Leah Solari, attack; Meredith Lynch, defense; Sophomores Molly Harding, attack/defense; Ally Lombardo, defense; Freshmen Kass Carmichael, midfield; Erin Keefe, attack/defense.

Coach Julie Olivier (12th season): “It’s always a good time of year when we’re playing lacrosse. We have 10 returning varsity veterans who will lead this team. Our biggest strength every year is our team chemistry and the desire to get better every day. We look forward to the start of the 2022 season.”

Wilmington

League: Middlesex League Freedom Division

Last Year’s Record: 4-9

Senior Captains: Jenna Moore, Taylor Breen, midfield; Rhiannon Dyment, Kylie Flynn, defense.

Returning Letterwinners: Juniors Jessica Collins, Kassidy Smith, midfield/attack.

Promising Newcomers: Sophomore Abby Driscoll, goalie.

Coach Chris Frissore (1st season): “We will fight as hard as we can and hope for the best. The Middlesex League is a tough, but we’ll put up a fight in every single game and we’ll be in a lot of close games. We have the experience, and have the talent, so if we can put it all together, we have a chance to be good.”

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