NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ — New Providence girls lacrosse coach Jennifer Henry admits that 2020 could have been a special season, with such a talented group of Class of 2020 players, had it ever gotten off the ground.

But Henry, whose program is returning to the field for the first time since 2019 after the 2020 campaign was wiped out by pandemic restrictions, is eager to see what kind of showing this year's group can put together.

New Providence opens its season Monday afternoon at home against Verona.

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"We are excited and happy to back out this season," Henry said. "Our conference is strong, and we anticipate a competitive season."

Junior midfielder Reagan Wawzycki is certain to have an impact and to take on more of a leadership role after 20 goals and handing out 31 assists in her freshman season on varsity in 2019. Wawzycki also won 55 out of 96 faceoffs that season.

"We have a young group this year playing on our varsity team," Henry said. "One player that will impact on both sides of the field is Reagan Wawzycki."

How young are the Pioneers? Just three seniors are on the roster: Meghan Sarlund, Hannah Kelly and Maddy LaMotta, who had nine goals and 24 assists two seasons ago. Brook DeSarno and Caitlin Foti are the only juniors aside from Wawzycki.

The sophomores include Cassandra Barbarisi, Claire Desarno, Grace Kelly, Paige Marusic, Reese Marzynski, Norine Moore, Hannah Ocello, Carleigh Robertson and Callie Slabaugh. Kelly was a key member of New Providence's de facto county champion girls basketball team last winter, and Robertson is already a veteran of the girls soccer team, having started in goal the last two seasons.

Freshmen coming into the program are Ava Cumiskey, Rowen Henry and Cara Lawton.

"We are hoping to use the experience of our more seasoned players to help develop our new players," Henry said. "We look to have a well-balanced offensive and defensive team that will resemble other successful teams we have had in the past."

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The Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors located at 64 Main Street in Chatham.  Joe is an over 25-year New Providence resident who is an active member of the New Providence community. Contact Joe anytime, whether it's to get started on helping you realize your real estate goals and dreams, or just to ask a question about the local market.  Joe can be reached at jeberle@weichert.com or call 908-868-4800