Warriors win first game, host Lynnfield on Saturday

COURTNEY HILL follows through on a goal during Wakefield’s preseason scrimmage against North Reading while Sara Junta looks on. Hill is one of three senior captains for the Warriors this season. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

Published in the April 3, 2018 edition.


WAKEFIELD — With the spring season about ready to get into full swing, let’s take a look at the 2018 Wakefield Memorial High School girls’ varsity lacrosse team.

Head Coach Cara Luca is back in charge once again this year, as she recently spent some time going over the prospects for the season. The team has some experience coming back in the form of 10 returning players, as well as plenty of senior leadership with eight of the 10 girls being seniors.

Julia Brown, Courtney Hill and Meg Foley will represent as team captains this year, while fellow seniors Morgan Haggerty, Olivia Tremblay, Julianne D’Ambrosio, Lizzie Finn and Alyssa Vacca look to play a crucial role in the team’s success. The two returning juniors, Brooke Lilley and Laura Keegan, will have an impact early on as well.

On her squad size, Coach Luca said, “I am carrying a big squad this year with 21 on varsity. We will be losing eight seniors next year so we have to look ahead for the future of the program.”

In net for the Warriors, coach Luca has another junior, Alexa Pesce. You may recognize her name from field hockey season, where she stepped into the goalie role and helped her team. Coach Luca hopes she has similar success in net with lacrosse, which like field hockey, is another new sport to Pesce.

“She played goalie for me in field hockey this past year,” Luca said, “And is now our lacrosse goalie. Alexa is a determined individual who is willing to work hard. We are excited to have her on the team.”

On defense, the Warriors will field Laura Keegan, Lizzie Finn, and Julianne D’Ambrosio in front of Pesce in net.

“They need to step up and protect our goalie,” coach Luca said.

In midfield, the Warriors hope to control the flow of the game with Courtney Hill, Meg Foley, Morgan Haggerty and Brooke Lilley running the show.

Julia Brown will lead the attacking edge of the Warriors side along with Olivia Tremble.

“We have a lot of versatility on the bench so I am excited for this upcoming season. Our ultimate goal is to make it to the state tournament. The girls know that we need to work hard each day to get there and always look forward.”

Another reason coach Luca can be excited for the new season and seasons beyond is the return of the freshman team, once again led by former Endicott Alumni Courtney Jennings.

Luca will be rejoined on the sideline this year by varsity assistant Alyssa Merchant, and JV head coach Meg O’Connell.

“I am grateful to have a staff who are passionate about lacrosse and seeing the girls be successful on the field,” coach Luca said of her staff.

Wakefield’s schedule is always tough, as the Middlesex League provides strong opponents at every turn. Coach Luca is hoping her team can improve on a 7-11 record last season.

Preparing for spring season is always tricky for student-athletes, but Luca feels her team is coming in to this season ready to roll.

“The girls trained hard this offseason playing club lacrosse, going to camps and clinics as well as working out on their own,” she said. “Even though the snow put a damper on the preseason, we were able to get in three scrimmages to help us prepare for our upcoming week.”

The team kicked off the 2018 season on the road in a non-league matchup with Tewksbury on Monday. It was a close game, but the Warriors were able to pull out a victory by a 14-13 final score.

On Saturday, the girls will host Lynnfield in the team’s home opener, but Middlesex League play starts on Thursday as the Warriors head back on the road, this time to face Winchester.

Coach Luca knows the Sachems will be a tough matchup but her team won’t be intimidated saying, “Playing Winchester as our first league game will be tough but we will play hard. Having limited time on the turf due to the snow has been tough but we are all in the same boat.”

It is very early in the season, but at 1-0 the Warriors can look towards their next game with confidence, which they’ll need if they’re going to come away with the result in Winchester on Thursday.