WESTFIELD, NJ — The 2013-2014 season was one filled with many milestones for Westfield’s girls lacrosse team, including making it to the Union County Finals for the first time, leaving the team with a 11-8 record.
According to Coach Samantha Warner, some of the season’s standout players offensively were Seniors Alexis Kardias and Anna Tanji. Kardias led the team in scoring with 51 goals, and she had 27 assists. Tanji scored 52 goals and earned nine assists.
Kardias “feeds the ball incredibly well and her ability to read the field and see the open player is impeccable,” said Warner.
“Anna’s speed in the midfield is really unmatched by any other player we see all year. She is not only fast, but also has depth in that speed which helped control the ball in transition,” she said.
Other standout midfielders included juniors Lauren D’Amico and Sam Paoletti.
“In the midfield Lauren was a staple for us. She is incredibly powerful off the circle and led our team in draw controls thanks to Sam commanding the center circle,” said Warner. “Sam was very successful during draws and often kept us in close games because she was able to break up the draw specialist on the other team.”
Standout defensive players included Mallory Weisse and Alyssa Cox.
“Both Mallory and Alyssa are so strong at picking off the ball that we were able to create so many turnovers when teams got complacent. It kept the majority of the momentum in our favor throughout the season,” said Warner.
Among many of the teams achievements this year, Weisse made her 500th save and ended the season close to the 600 mark, with a total of 578 saves. This was also the first year that the team was able to beat Chatham and Glen Ridge in the regular season and, after defeating Oak Knoll, the team landed a spot in the Union County Finals for the first time, according to Warner.
“Team play is definitely our strength. We do not rely on just one or two people to get the job done. We utilize every single person on our team, whether in practice or a game, which has given us depth we had not had in the past,” said Warner.
One area in which Warner thinks that the team could improve was their midfield transition and pushing the fast break.
“We have so much unutilized speed. If we can learn to push the ball up the field, we will be able to catch many teams off guard,” she said.
Warner said that next season she hopes to continue to build on the success that they have established over the last two years.
“This is an amazing group of players. They are passionate, strong and determined. Every day they come fighting to prove that they are a legitimate program. If we can continue to go in the direction we have the past two seasons, they won't have to prove anything,” said Warner. “Our play on the field will speak for itself.”