Girls lacrosse team seeking back-to-back titles
Shrewsbury - A dozen veterans from last year's Central Mass. Championship girls lacrosse team return to the fold for Shrewsbury High and fifth-year coach Becky Moisan.
"We have a good nucleus back: a lot of kids who were on the team last year and know what to expect and want to be a part of it again," Moisan said.
What they want to be a part of again is winning. The Colonials finished 16-2-1 and wore the Central Mass. crown for the second time in three years, having also won in 2005.
Leading Shrewsbury's list of returnees are senior captains Nikki L'Ecuyer and Alicia Tinsley. L'Ecuyer plays defense, while Tinsley is a midfielder. The names of seven other seniors dot the roster as well, including offensive-minded players Nicole DiPilato and Claire Gutekanst, additional midfielders Jenn McBride and Jenna Tonelli, and additional defenders Emily Palermo, Cait Schneider and Callie Theodoss.
Also returning for more varsity action are junior Meg Roy, a midfielder; sophomore Kathryn Beall, a midfielder; and offensive minded sophomore Michaela Tinsley, Alicia's younger sister.
Moisan said she plans to carry 18 players on her varsity roster. She said finding players for those final six spots will be a work in progress that will develop through tryouts and the early part of the season. She anticipated that the spots would be filled by players who participated on the junior varsity team last season.
The primary focus of the Colonials' 12 returnees is to keep the team on its winning track while coming together to overcome the collective loss of the five players who graduated off of last year's team: Chrissy Chan, Jill Zingarelli, Kristy Benoit, Michelle Leroux and Yael Tzipori.
Moisan said the local explosion of the sport of lacrosse has overshadowed any pressure she feels her Shrewsbury team will have coming into the season as defending Central Mass. champions.
"Locally, the sport has doubled in three years," Moisan said. "A few years ago Central Mass. girls lacrosse was one league with seven teams. Now we've got 14 teams playing in two different leagues. More teams are playing; more kids are playing. I think it makes everyone better in the long run."
Moisan said she can also see the development of the sport through the commitment of the players.
"When I first got here, girls would pick up lacrosse after their other sports were over – field hockey, soccer, basketball," Moisan said. "Now they're working on their lacrosse skills right along with all the other sports they play. Even in this first week I've noticed a lot of girls have much better ball-handling and stickhandling skills than they had when we finished up last season. Their footwork is better; the endurance and stamina are up, too."
While the team has yet to set its goals for the season, Moisan has one: to make it through the season. She is pregnant with her first child, and the due date is later in the season.
"Pregnant or not, my approach to the season is the same one I preach to my players – one day at a time," Moisan said. "The only restriction I've been given is my Athletic Director Jay Costa said I'm not allowed to have the baby on the field."
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