GLEN RIDGE, NJ--With an eye toward a fifth straight Essex County Tournament title this spring, things were looking very good when the Glen Ridge High girls' lacrosse team began official practice on March 6.
"Things were really going well," said Glen Ridge head coach Beth Larkin. "The weather was really nice for early March. We were ahead, as far as preparation was concerned. We have an experienced team this year, with a tremendous group of seniors. The kids came into practice in good shape. They had worked hard and put the time during the off-season."
A little over a week into practice, the season was suddenly put on hold, as the Coronavirus pandemic took center stage.
"Of course we want to be out there," said Larkin, who is beginning her 12th season at Glen Ridge, after seven years at Montclair Kimberley Academy. "We were scheduled to open the (regular) season on March 25. I'm really hoping there will be time to play before the end of the school year, especially so that the seniors can experience one more season."
The Ridgers are coming off a 16-3 season in 2019 which included a fourth straight Essex County crown. The Ridgers have also won five of the last seven county titles.
The team captains this year are seniors Gretchen Gilmore, Madison Grady, Sarah Looney and Campbell Moriarty. All four will play lacrosse in college, with Gilmore off to Penn State, Grady to attend Rutgers, Looney to play at Stanford and Moriarty attending Amherst College.
"They're all tremendous student-athletes, who will attend big-time schools," said Larkin. "I know they were looking forward to their senior year, as well. Right now, they're leading virtual (on line) practices and keeping a positive approach, which helps all our kids."
Sydney Lance and Samantha Lovit are also seniors on the 2020 roster while the juniors are Cooper Palm, Izzy Deubner, Josie Lang, Cecile Keavey, Stella Lodewick, Maci Fazekas and Grace O'Keefe. Leading the sophomores are Hana Yang, Olivia Corradi, Blake Velardi, Franny Tedesco, Defne Zeybek, Kayla Garske, Lily Kuhn and Kelly Egan.
The junior varsity players are Natalie Blee, Calista Huang, Laura Reynolds, Hayley Foster, Hallie Galbraith, Amalia Sanchez. Sydney McCann, Madeline Rodriguez, Abby Carlucci, Mikayla Grandison, Alex Wecler, Ava Walton, Kaitlin Leas, Avery Gilbert, Lucie Glover, Yasmin Ayan, Avery Brown, Eliana Amici, Emily Runnions, Hannah Sebastiano, Maeve O'Keefe and Jillian Parker.
Larkin's coaching staff once again includes Aileen Musynske and Julia Short.
In addition to success in the county tournament, the Ridgers have also done well in the states. The team made it to the past three sectional finals, before losing to powerhouse Oak Knoll. This year, Oak Knoll will play in a Non-Public section.
"We're just hoping to play," said Larkin. "Our team is unified and eager to get back on the field."