By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI
NORTH READING — Samantha Whitney is the new head coach of the North Reading High girls lacrosse team this spring. Whitney takes over for Ann Flaherty who had a baby during the off-season and stepped down.
Whitney became a ninth grade heath teacher at North Reading High back in September. She played her high school lacrosse at Portsmouth (NH) High and then played in college at Ithaca where she played attack.
While this is her first high school job, Whitney had coached at the club level at Lighthouse Lacrosse up in New Hampshire. She inherits a team that went 5-11-1 last season. Five seniors from that team graduated, including Cape Ann League All-Star Merissa Milano, but the Hornets have nine veterans coming back.
The two seniors on the team are the co–captains, Lexi Ford and Alex McGeachie. Ford is an attacker while McGeachie is a midfielder who is the team’s top returning scorer.
Katie Welch (midfielder), Tristan Hoffman (midfielder), Liz Carlson (goalie), Julia Miele (defenseman), Gabby Lorenzo (midfielder), Gretchen Burgholzer (midfielder) and Anna Tayas (midfielder) are the seven juniors back.
Carlson missed a majority of the season last year due to injury.
With the record winter snowfall, the Hornets have had to practice in the gym and they finally had their first outdoor practice on March 30.
“We have 20 varsity players and 23 junior varsity players,” pointed out Whitney. “With all of those players the gym had been pretty tight to practice in.”
Despite that, things have gone well especially with the bonding between her and her squad.
“I feel like I have a great rapport with the girls,” stated Whitney.
With the bad weather, the team will have three weeks, instead of just two, to learn Whitney’s system and they are slated to play 15 regular season games. The MIAA has extended the regular season one week and with the field turf surface at North Reading they should be able to get all 15 games in.
The Hornets open the season next Tuesday afternoon at Georgetown. That game will start at 3:45.