Girls lacrosse teams at North Gwinnett, Lanier and Buford high schools are all competing for strong finishes to their seasons.
The North Gwinnett Voice talked to their coaches to learn more about the teams’ strengths, challenges and top players.
At North Gwinnett High School, head lacrosse coach Cory Orlowski believes that his team members’ greatest strength is their resilience.
“They have encountered tough situations both in practice and in games, and they have always found a way to respond,” Orlowski said. “That’s a mentality that will be a huge strength moving forward.”
Although he stressed that he has an entire team of contributors with a wide range of skills, the coach highlighted Kadyn McCarthy, Jaime Salin, Sarah Cobb, Morgan Giesler, Lauren Teav, Skylar Mullin and Landry Rabitsch.
“(They) are all having a tremendous start to the season. They are contributing in all phases of the game,” he said.
North Gwinnett girls lacrosse is 7-5 overall, but 2-2 for region games meaning their final region matchup against Centennial on Tuesday, April 12, will be the decider for whether or not they qualify for playoffs.
“Whether we’re coming off a tough loss or a huge win, the girls always work hard in practice and shift their focus to the next opponent. They are ready to win and have the determination to support that,” Orlowski added. “They are hungry for a winning season and I’m excited to see where their hard work will lead us.”
The head lacrosse coach at Lanier High School is Elizabeth Dolcimascolo. She sees her team members’ work rate and dedication as their greatest strength.
“This season we are really excited to have a full roster of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors,” Dolcimascolo said. “They are fantastic student athletes that really lead on and off the field, and this level of commitment will carry us through the next two years.”
Although she feels good about her team’s effort and commitment, having such young players can create some gaps with experience. Those gaps, however, give certain players the chance to rise to the occasion.
One such player is freshman Madison Graham, who stepped in as the team’s goalie with no prior lacrosse experience.
“Goalie is as much mental as it is physical, and she has done an amazing job not only being willing to play, but picking up on the game and learning about what needs to be done,” Dolcimascolo said.
She also highlighted her junior class players Elodi Martinez, Sainabou Foon, Lana Torres, Daisy Arrow and Olivia Blackford, who have made a lot of progress despite missing out on playing their freshman year due to COVID restrictions.
“Last season was our first year in our five year history as a varsity program with a winning season,” Dolcimascolo added. “We were thrilled to be able to pick up some area wins and really look forward to continuing on that path.”
Although the team is 3-6 overall, they’re only 0-1 for their region games, and they finish their regular season on five consecutive region matchups beginning Tuesday, April 12, so qualifying for the playoffs is certainly not out of the question.
“They are truly committed to improving themselves and this level of dedication speaks to their character off the field,” Dolcimascolo said. “They have the grit to be great, and I am just lucky to get to spend so much of my time with such amazing teenagers!”
Marianne Cagle is the head girls lacrosse coach at Buford. Buford is the only girls lacrosse team of the three that qualified for the state playoffs last season, and Cagle believes her team’s greatest strength will come from its returning seniors — Jordyn Olivo, Avery Treadwell, Kylee Kangas and Heather West.
“(They) were major contributors last season and their experience and talent will be a great strength for our team this year,” Cagle said.
Olivo in particular scored her 100th career goal in the opening game of the season.
Unfortunately, Buford’s region record is 1-4, meaning they will miss out on the playoffs this year, but they still have a chance to turn their 5-7 overall record into a winning season.
Buford’s next girls lacrosse game is also Tuesday, April 12, at Mill Creek.
FEATURED PHOTO: Members of the North Gwinnett High School girls lacrosse team. Photo courtesy of North Gwinnett High School Athletics.