CHATHAM, NJ - It's not that they know each other so well that they have the ability to complete each other's sentence. It's the way the Chatham girls lacrosse tri-captains Schuyler Bixby, Zoe Kraus and Abby Morgan have finished off each other's passes during their four-year varsity careers that should worry their opponents.
The three form a triumvirate on attack that give the Lady Cougars an offensive advantage in 2017.
"The three of us have been playing together for a while, so we already have good chemistry," Morgan said. "The biggest thing is to find out who else works well together so we can mesh as a team."
University of Penn commit Kraus notched 47 goals, 13 assists and 36 ground balls last season and is two points away from 100 career points. She also has a chance to get her 100th career goal this season.
Bixby, headed to Dartmouth, collected 35 goals, 32 assists and 42 ground balls last season and is six shy of her 100th career point. Vanderbilt commit Morgan had 27 goals 11 assists and 25 ground balls a year ago and needs 23 points to reach 100 in her career.
"We're focusing on playing as one unit," Bixby said. "We spend a lot of time together. We've been playing together since sixth grade."
Adding to the depth on the attack is junior Emilie de Keyzer, who scored 26 goals in 2016.
The midfield is led by seniors Catherine McNiff, a Washington and Lee commit, and Julie Hamilton, who has committed to Duquesne. The other midfield starter is sophomore Frances Workman, who gained varsity experience last season. Freshman Lizzie O'Neill, already committed to Boston College, is a newcomer to watch in the midfield.
The defense features seniors Bella Marshall, Michelle Connolly and junior Caroline Mahoney. Joining that mix is sophomore Colleen Graham, a Marquette commit.
"We have 11 seniors on the roster," Chatham coach Hilary Renna said. "Three starting on attack, two on defense, and two in the midfield. Those girls will do a nice job bringing the younger players up and leading the team on the field."
Junior goalie Kat Friday, a Cal Berkeley commit, is joined by freshman Tamer Luzi, who will be pushing for playing time.
"(Luzi) has a lot of talent," Renna said.
Chatham also has depth on its coaching staff. Renna was without an assistant coach until she picked up Deb Marriott, who coached Chatham to four state championships and three Morris County Tournament titles before stepping down. Marriott guided state championship teams at Chatham in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012. Renna assisted Marriott on the 2010, 2011, 2012 title teams.
Chatham opens the season on the road, Wednesday, March 29 at West Morris.