SUMMIT, NJ - Entering just his third season as head coach of the Summit High School varsity girls lacrosse team, Mike Walsh has established an elite program, capturing the Union County Championship, the Group 2 North Sectional Championship, and the Group 2 State Championship all in 2013.
The coach knows that maintaining the team's level of success will be no simple task. "It is such a hard league," said Walsh, adding, "We don't have a right to overlook anyone."
Despite losing captains Stuart Humphrey and Jess Sanyour to graduation, the Hilltoppers return a strong core, most notably on defense. While the offense may be a work in progress at this point, the defense is anchored by four seniors in Anna Baumeister, Taylor Ford, Emmie McCaffrey and Kelly Haberl. And, although goalie Kady Glynn is a junior, she has been a three-year starter and has proven herself as a stellar last line of defense, producing 182 saves last season.
On attack, look for a strong year from senior Meaghan Celmer and sophomore Sara Szynal, with seniors Madeleine Gramigna and Stephanie Ford powering the midfield.
Four Captains have been named: Gramigna, Baumeister, Celmer, and Haberl.
"A key challenge is to get the kids to understand the importance of playing as a team, especially in a short pre-season," said Walsh. While most coaches are, understandably, cautious about team prospects -- especially early in the season -- Walsh admits his team is. "Athletic, deep, we catch and throw the ball well."
"How far we go will be dictated by how well we play together and how we react to, and handle, adversity, Walsh noted. This is a chemistry game, and everyone has to learn to trust each other."
The season gets off to a dynamic, and highly challenging, start when the Hilltoppers face Chatham at home March 28, then travel to Mountain Lakes March 31, before returning home to take on Oak Knoll April 2..
The 2014 Summit Girls Lacrosse Schedule
Home games played on the Summit High School Upper Turf Field
3/28 v. Chatham - 4 p.m.
3/31 @ Mountain Lakes - 4 p.m.
4/2 v. Oak Knoll - 4 p.m.
4/4 @ Columbia - 4 p.m.
4/7 v. Ridgewood - 4 p.m.
4/9 v. Westfield - 4 p.m.
4/11 v. West Essex - 4 p.m.
4/14 v. Caldwell - 4 p.m.
4/16 @ Kent Place - 4 p.m.
4/21 v. Glen Ridge - 4 p.m.
4/23 @ Mendham - 4 p.m.
4/26 v. Shawnee - 11 a.m.
4/30 @ Immaculate Heart Academy - 4 p.m.
5/3 v. Farmingdale - 7 p.m.
2014 Varsity Roster
29 - Anna Baumeister, senior - M/D
5 - Meaghan Celmer, senior - A
24 - Caroline Cranley, senior - GK
16 - Stephanie Ford, senior - M
13 - Taylor Ford, senior - D
19 - Maddie Gramigna, senior - M
17 - Kelly Haberl, senior - D
11 - Emmie McCaffery, senior - D
3 - Anika Becker, junior - M
30 - Kady Glynn, junior - GK
7 - Brynn Johnson, junior - M/D
2 - Olivia Kelly, junior - M
15 - Catherine Cordrey, sophomore - M
28 - Mary Fischetti, sophomore - A
26 - Samantha Forsyth, sophomore - A
8 - Julia Harkins, sophomore - M
21 - Callie Humphrey, sophomore - M
4 - Emily Kalin, sophmore - M
18 - Stephanie Kostolansky, sophomore - D
14 - Maggie Moriority, sophomore - A
23 - Kathleen Morano, sophomore - A
20 - Caitlin Osmulski, sophomore - D
10 - Julia Persche, sophomore - M
12 - Teia Ross, sophommore - D
22 - Morgan Strabley, sophomore - D
25 - Sara Szynal, sophomore - A
1 - Isabel Zachara, sophomore - A
6 - Olivia Kull, freshman - A
27 - Stella Spotts, freshman - D