For the Hun School girls’ lacrosse team, heading south to Florida earlier this month proved beneficial on several levels.
“The weather was great,” said Hun second-year head coach Haley Sanborn, who guided the Raiders to a 6-9 record last spring in her debut season.
“We had 24 kids come on the trip; the majority were varsity but there were some JV players so it was a mixed group. We had long days on the field. As for the varsity, the girls jelled quickly. They are on the same page for what they expect this season and what they want to do.”
Sanborn credits her trio of seniors, Francesca Bello, Brianna Barratt, and Hanna Bettner with getting everyone on the same page.
“Fresca, Bri, and Hanna were setting the tone for the rest of the season,” said Sanborn, whose team gets regular season play underway by hosting Princeton High on March 29.
“They took the younger players under their wing, letting them know the expectations and that they are going to get pushed.”
Bello and Barratt will be pushing things on the offensive end this spring. “Fresca is a powerhouse, she is a versatile player,” said Sanborn of Bello, who is heading to Villanova to play field hockey.
“I can put her anywhere and she will do well. She is to going to get her 100th goal this season. Bri Barratt is also looking good, she did well last season.”
The Raiders boast other weapons in sophomore Lindsay Ruddy and the Consoli twins, sophomores Emma and Katie.
“Lindsay will probably play at center; she did a lot of work in the off-season and it is showing,” said Sanborn.
“Both of the Consolis have a great work ethic, I don’t know how a coach gets so lucky to have two of them. They are thriving in this environment. Katie will be on high attack. Emma will help us in transition.”
Across the midfield, Hun will feature athletic talent, if not vast lax experience in freshmen Sophia Albanese, Delia Lavwer, Julie Salerno, Marleigh Nociti, together with junior Erica Dwyer.
“Sophia, Delia, and Julie are raw athletes; they will be helpful,” said Sanborn.
“Marleigh Nociti is also a soccer player. She has incredible speed. She hasn’t played lacrosse since middle school but that is good because she doesn’t have bad habits to break. She is picking things up quickly. Erica Dwyer will also be in the midfield, she is an all-around athlete.”
The defense does have some battle-tested performers in Hanna Bettner, Shannon Graham, Taylor Nehlig, and Amanda Barbour.
“I am psyched to have Hanna back; she is a workhorse,” said Sanborn of Bettner, who was on the squad as a freshman and sophomore and then spent a year at public school before returning to Hun.
“Shannon Graham is injury free; she may step up to attack but she has such good defensive instincts and I feel comfortable with her back there. Taylor Nehlig and Amanda Barbour played there last year. They know each other.”
At goalie, the Raiders are looking at sophomore Tatiana Swain and freshman Madison McNulty.
“Tatiana and Maddie are new to the position; both are learning quickly,” said Sanborn.
“You have got to give them credit for stepping up and giving it a whirl. I applaud both of them. Right now they are pretty even. If they progress at the same rate, we may alternate them.”
Sanborn, for her part, is confident that Hun can make a lot of progress collectively this spring.
“It is going to be about chemistry and trust; they need to trust each other and know where each other is going to go before they do it,” said Sanborn.
“We have a great group of kids, they have strong character. They want to be out there, they want to work hard. I am excited; I am confident we can pick up where we ended last year and continue the upward momentum.”