Chatham Girls Lacrosse Warming Up to New Coach McCutcheon; Julia Doria: 'You look forward to practice after school'

Chatham girls lacrosse captains for 2018, l to r: Grace Coe, Tessa Luzi, Emilie de Keyzer and Julia Doria Credits: TAP Chatham
Chatham's first-year girls lacrosse coach Helen McCutcheon talks to her team during practice at Haas Field Credits: TAP Chatham
Chatham girls lacrosse assistant coach, Paul Garavente, with new head coach Helen McCutcheon Credits: TAP Chatham
Chatham girls lacrosse coach Helen McCutcheon communicates with her team during practice. Lady Cougars open Wednesday at home vs. Morristown Credits: TAP Chatham
Freshmen twins Haley and Callie Riabov have joined the Chatham girls lacrosse varsity team Credits: TAP Chatham
Chatham girls lacrosse coach goes over a play with her team at practice Credits: TAP Chatham
Chatham sophomore goalie Tamer Luzi Credits: TAP Chatham
Senior goalie Kat Friday is set to play her fourth varsity season for Chatham Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - There is a definite buzz about the new blood Helen McCutcheon is bringing to the Chatham girls lacrosse program and it seems as though the 28-year-old head coach already has accomplished one of her goals - and the first game hasn't even been played yet.

The Chatham High graduate said she wanted to make the game fun for the players when she introduced herself to the team in October. And after a recent practice at Haas Field, McCutcheon had to smile when she heard what the team captains were saying at this early stage.

"We feel connected to her," senior defender Julia Doria said. "We can talk to her about anything. There is not too big of a boundary between coach and player (But the right amount added Emilie de Keyzer). You look forward to practice after school. You know practice is going to be hard, but it's good. Everyone is excited to be here."

Sign Up for E-News

In the short time the team has been able to run the field outdoors, there is already a vibe developing, according to senior defender Tessa Luzi: "The intensity is there."

Senior attack de Keyzer is one of the returning veterans for Chatham, having collected 75 points on 41 goals and 34 assists in 2017. During the final eight games, de Keyzer produced 25 goals and 10 assists to close out the season, averaging 4.4 points over that stretch. 

"We have a lot of young talent," de Keyzer said. "We're excited for the new team in general. We're taking everything from last year and adding new stuff to it. We're growing as a program and a team, and we hope to take that into our season and keep growing."

Chatham opens with a 4 p.m. home game at Haas on Wednesday vs. Morristown.

McCutcheon was an All-American middie when she played for Chatham and the players can't help but notice that she knows what she's doing when she grabs a stick and participates in a drill.

"She's really involved," senior attack Grace Coe said. "The other day when we were indoors at Centercourt the attack was working with her and she was in the 7 vs. 7 drills with us. She's still got it.

"Last year we had so many seniors on the field. It's a weird transition coming into this season because there are so many players who haven't touched the field even though they've been on varsity."

The veterans include senior defenders Colleen Graham, Caroline Mahoney and Doria, in front of senior goalie Kat Friday (157 saves last year) and sophomore goalie Tamer Luzi.

Experienced midfielders include junior Frances Workman (17 points, 38 ground balls) and sophomore Lizzie O'Neill (11 points, 27 ground balls).

Also returning are Caitlin Barnett, senior attack; Paige Guenther, senior attack; Ann Francesco, junior midfielder; Grace Steigerwald, junior defender; and Ally Franz, sophomore attack.

Some of the new blood making a splash are freshman twin sisters, Callie Riabov (middie) and Haley Riabov (attack), as well as freshman defender Lara Kology. Two sophomore varsity basketball players  have also gained notice, middie Emma Frohnapfel and defender Maddie Hartnett

"We're still figuring out who works well together and that's what the scrimmages are for," McCutcheon said. "Before the two storms, we were outside for two or three days before we had to go inside to practice. It feels good to be out here. I love it.'"

McCutcheon has been aided by assistant Paul Garavente, who describes himself as a "lifer," who has been coaching Chatham girls lacrosse at some level since 1995.

"Paul has been my right-hand man and he allows me to run two different drills at the same time," McCutcheon said. "The kids are super coachable. We've got a lot of positivity. Like any team at the beginning of the season, we have some kinks to work out. In general, I think we're turning it on and having intense practices. We have to show up every day because our whole schedule is made up of top 10 and top 20 teams."



TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, July 9 – Sunday, July 15, 2018

Please note that the library will be closed on Sundays now through Labor Day weekend


Our summer program is in full swing.  This week we are starting some of our most popular children’s programs, Chess for Kids and sewing classes with Miss Polly.  Children will also enjoy a visit from a special guest, Queen Maria Isabella from Medieval Times.  Teens ...

Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk: Fundraiser on Sept. 22nd at Chatham Cougar Field

July 21, 2018

To the Editor:

Hello, Friends,

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) “Out of the Darkness” annual walk is being held on Saturday, September 22nd at 5:15 p.m. at Chatham’s Cougar Field, next to 312 Shunpike Road in Chatham, NJ  07928.  Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. 

You know of my lifetime support of efforts to combat ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.



Chatham's Meghan LeMon Awarded Degree from Miami University in Ohio

July 21, 2018

OXFORD, OH -- Meghan LeMon of Chatham was among more than 3,900 students from Miami University who received degrees during spring commencement exercises Saturday, May 19, 2018, at Millett Hall.

LeMon graduated MAGNA with a BA degree, majoring in Speech Path & Audiology.

Considered one of eight original "Public Ivies" in the country, Miami University is located in Oxford, Ohio.

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...