Warriors return all but two players from last year’s state tournament club

ISA CUSACK (#30), a senior captain, returns to lead the Warrior defense this spring. The girls’ lacrosse team posted an 11-win season and clinched a state tournament berth a year go. Wakefield hopes to have even more success this spring. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

ISA CUSACK (#30), a senior captain, returns to lead the Warrior defense this spring. The girls’ lacrosse team posted an 11-win season and clinched a state tournament berth a year go. Wakefield hopes to have even more success this spring. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

Published in the April 8, 2016 edition.


WAKEFIELD — In 2015, the varsity girls’ lacrosse team at Wakefield Memorial High School had a remarkable regular season as Coach Cara Luca’s squad posted an 11-8 overall record and clinched a state tournament berth.

In the early days of 2016, Coach Luca has a very positive feeling about the way things are going.

“The beginning of the season has been great. The girls are ready and hungry to make it to the tournament and go further than last year,” she said in a recent interview.

This year’s team will have a lot of familiar elements as last year’s team had only two seniors.

“The varsity team is all returning players,” Luca said. “We have a lot of talent. The girls have been working hard in the off season working on stick skills and defense. We are anticipating the offense to be strong this year.”

Kelsey Czarnota, a junior, will take the center position for the Warriors.

“She was the leading scorer and one of the top scorers in the Middlesex League last year,” said the coach. “Julianne Bourque, Julia Brown and Brianna Smith are our other key scoring players.”

Bourque is a senior, Brown is a sophomore and Smith is a junior.

Going across the field Coach Luca continued to preview her roster.

“The midfield has three returning starters, captain Isa Cusack, Jessica Vinciguerra and Emily Ryan,” said Luca. “They will be joined by two new varsity members, Taylor Messina and Meg Horrigan.”

Cusack and Vinciguerra are seniors, while Ryan is a junior. As for Messina and Horrigan, they are both juniors.

The defense has a host of returning players as well.

“Our backfield has been working hard also,” Luca said. “Captain Meg Kerrigan, captain Cathy Francis and Erin Lucey will protect the goalie.”

Kerrigan, Francis and Lucey are all seniors.

As far as goalie goes, the Warriors have two options, captain Bianca Passacantilli and Mikayla White. Both goals are seniors.

Coach Luca has confidence in her team’s depth as she named some other players to keep an eye on.

“Other players to watch out for are Kate Foley, Danielle Benedetto, Sarah Grady, Nicole Pecjo, Erin Murphy and Maddie Collins,” the coach said.

Foley, Benedetto, Grady, Pecjo, Murphy and Collins are all seniors.

It is a team that has set the bar high for itself both with its play previously and as coach Luca pointed out, with the goals it has set for itself as a team.

“Talking with the captains, they would like to make tournament again. In order to do that, they have to work together as a team and communicate with each other on the field,” said Luca.

“(The) Second goal is to win the Freedom division. It would be a first. The last goal would be to prove to the Liberty Division that Wakefield is a competitor and would like to capitalize on wins against the big Division 1 schools.”

Wakefield will want to do better after going 4-7 in the league a year ago. The Warriors did very well in non-league play going 7-0 to get into the postseason.

Coach Luca sees the tournament as a certain possibility if they work together and that’s what she wants to see.

“My expectation for this year’s team is to persevere,” she said. “I want the girls to know that not every game is going to be easy but with hard work, determination, communication and teamwork we can persevere through the toughest teams.

“We are looking forward to having a successful season,” the coach continued. “We made tournament last year and the girls would like to make it further than last year.”

As for what dates the team may have highlighted on their schedules, Luca admitted,” I wouldn’t say that the team is looking forward to this, but they would like to shut Woburn down when they play them this year. We lost to them in the first round of tournament play and want to show them who we really are.”

One thing that makes this year a little extra special for WMHS girls’ lacrosse is the addition of the freshman squad, an important aspect of a building program Coach Luca is grateful to have added.

“This year we have added a freshman program. We haven’t had one in a long time. The sport is growing which in turn our youth program is growing,” said Luca. “I have to thank Debbie Tremblay for doing a fantastic job with the youth program.”

The first two games of the year were postponed and will be made up at later dates. The Lynnfield game will be played on Thursday, May 5 at 4 p.m. at Lynnfield High School. The Lexington game, which was postponed yesterday, will be made up on Monday, April 25 at 4 p.m. at Landrigan Field.

So the team will hit the field for the first time today at 4:30 p.m. at Landrigan Field when the Warriors host Gloucester in a non-league contest.