Raptors girls' lacrosse has their eye on the state tournament
The East Ridge Raptors girls' lacrosse team is coming off their best season since 2014, going 10-3 last season and advancing to the third round of sections, not mention having the program continue to grow.
"Overall, the season was a huge success," head coach Luke Beaudoin said. "Numbers wise we had a lot more girls coming in and trying out than we did the year before, so that was a really nice thing to see right away. We ended up having three teams last year and I think all three teams were pretty strong. Varsity ended up getting pretty far, we made it to the section semifinals and played a strong team like Cretin-Derham Hall. A lot of girls got a ton of experience from last year and we had a lot of girls leaving with smiles on their faces."
Heading into this season, the Raptors lose seven seniors from last year; Annika Frazer, Alyssa Wallace, Catie Behr, Madelynne Deshler, Maria Wallace, Andrea Arntzen and Elizabeth Bregel. The Wallaces were both top-five on the team in points and goals scored.
"I think this year we're going to be young, going into this year we now have 18 new players to the high school level, they're girls who have never played high school before this," Beaudoin said. "On the varsity side of things we're going to be young, we don't have as many seniors as we did last year. So in total we'll be young but there's girls who can play pretty well so it will be exciting to see how they do."
Despite that youth, however, Beaudoin said that they have several returners who will be able to fill the roles of the seniors they lost and they have put in the effort in the offseason.
"We have a number of girls that, over the summer, played a lot of extra lacrosse," he said. "So that was nice to hear. We have a defense coming back, her name is Kaitlyn McCarthy, she's going to probably be one of our big defensive leaders, she's really vocal, really strong, she has great footwork and she really knows how to play defense. In the midfield we have Julie Thao who is returning, she's our senior captain, she's a great leader on the team too. On the offensive side of things is Katie Flynn, another one of our captains, I've said this about her for a long time but she has one of the hardest shots in the SEC. She can throw that ball hard and put it wherever she wants it, she's going to be a huge force on offense for us as well."
Beaudoin said the team's strength is that his team will be very well-rounded overall, with the defense strong and the offense not far behind. On the other hand, he said much of their early practices will be system works so as to get that right and let the girls just go out and play.
As practices start, he also said that the goal for this season is to advance as far as possible with the state tournament in focus. In the meantime, he said these first few weeks they will focus on getting in sync with each other and building up their strengths.