The ingredients are in place for the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team to produce some fireworks this spring.
“We have speed, we have athletes, and we have good players in the skill positions,” said longtime PDS head coach Jill Thomas, who guided the Panthers to an 8-9 record last spring.
“We will do what we can to get out and run. We will run with a purpose, we will gun with a purpose.”
The Panthers’ top guns on attack figure to be junior Morgan Foster, Lafayette-bound senior Lucy Linville, and sophomore Hope Anhut.
“Foster is a real leader; she has great athleticism and stick skills,” said Thomas, who will also be using the Soltesz twins, juniors Alexa and Stef, on attack.
“She is the quarterback of our offense. Lucy has been working all year on her game. She is fit and we are expecting good things from her. Hope made a lot of progress last year and she is doing well this spring.”
In the midfield, PDS is expecting good things from such veterans as junior Kirsten Kuzmicz and seniors Allison Mascioli and Mary Travers.
“Kirsten can go up and down the field,” said Thomas, noting the seniors Sarah Brennan and Mimi Matthews are in the mix at midfield.
“Allison is back; she played as a freshman and then had double ACLs. Mary is working to get her stick skills after playing two other sports. She’s an athlete and will be a presence.”
The Panther defensive unit features plenty of athleticism in junior Erin Hogan and sophomores Tess Gecha and Rowan Schomburg along with Mascioli, Travers, and Matthews.
“Erin Hogan is an athlete and should help us on defense,” said Thomas, whose squad gets the 2014 regular season underway this week as it was slated to host Stuart Country Day on April 1 before playing at the Hill School (Pa.) on April 4 and hosting Princeton High on April 7.
“Allison, Mary, and Mimi can play there. The experience that Tess and Rowan got last year is serving as a good foundation for them.”
Thomas is confident that junior Sara Dwyer will provide a good last line of defense as she steps into the starting goalie spot.
“Sara is in goal for us, she is an athlete and she is doing well,” said Thomas.
“She has played JV for two years and she knows what she is doing.”
PDS has three freshmen, Abby Atkeson, Hannah Bunce, and Morgan Mills, on the squad and they know what they are doing.
“The three freshmen are good,” said Thomas. “I wouldn’t bring them up to varsity if I didn’t think they could help us.”
While the Panthers have talent, they need to develop the right mindset.
“I think we have a lot of potential and potential is a terrible thing to waste,” said Thomas. “A lot of it is up to them in terms of developing a team chemistry, having a goal, and believing.”
In Thomas’ view, the players took some major strides in that direction during their preseason trip to Florida.
“It has been a really great trip,” asserted Thomas. “We have been getting really good senior leadership, we have 11 new players on the varsity with people moving up and freshmen coming in. It is great to be outside and doing full field practices. I think they are coming together. Seeing your teammates 24/7 is different than seeing them in the hall at school. You are living together.”
If PDS can come together on the field, it could produce a great spring.
“We will look to move in transition and play tough defense all over the field,” said Thomas.
“We have high expectations. We are expecting these athletes to step up. We want to get back to where we have been. I am looking forward to the season.”