NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ- The New Providence High School Pioneers girls lacrosse team kicked off their 2018 season looking to make a statement as they took to the turf Thursday afternoon. Having lost six key seniors to graduation, they scored early and often.
In the first 11-and-a-half minutes of action, they scored ten goals, all fueled by great rushes and wins on the faceoffs. Sophomore Kaitlyn Cumiskey added five goals and senior Iris Kaloshi added four tallies, capping off a 14-3 win over the Newark Academy High School (Livingston) Minutemen in their home opener.
It didn’t take long for the Pioneers to strike for the game’s opening goal. About a minute after the first chance missed, New Providence cashed in for the game’s opening goal, leading 1-0, at 3:19 of the first half. As the next faceoff went, the Pioneers immediately shifted into the attack mode and would score again.
Kaloshi scored her first goal of the afternoon 42 seconds later to make the game 2-0. New Providence pressured Newark Academy again, with a fast rush, concluding with Kaloshi’s second score of the afternoon to make the score 3-0 at 4:39 of the first half.
The Pioneers were hungry for more and continued to add more on the scoreboard, most of them coming in lightning speed following the faceoffs.
“I think it was the intensity that we had in the first half,” New Providence head coach Jennifer Henry said. “Even though there was a lot of pressure on [the girls], they were able to still get a goal and assist and be able to score.”
“I think it was a combined effort of not just taking care of the ball [but of] working and hustling together,” Henry added.
They added two more goals in a three-minute span to make the game 5-0 at 5:43 of the first half, everyone getting involved in the mix.
Sophomore Sadie Miller scored her first goal of the afternoon minutes later, the game now 6-0 Pioneers at 13:59 of the first half. New Providence was pleased to start the game at such a rapid pace being locked in offensively, crediting their chemistry as a part of the win.
“As midfielders together, me, Katie [Cumiskey] and Sadie [Miller] have great chemistry,” Kaloshi said. “We really wanted to start the game off strong and fast, so we just know what to cover, we give each other looks and everyone else on the field, we spread out.”
Kaloshi finished the afternoon with five points, four of them goals and one assist.
Cumiskey scored the Pioneers’ eighth goal of the afternoon, with Kaloshi adding another one to make the score 9-0. Following New Providence’s tenth goal, there was a running clock for the time they had the lead before Newark Academy added two goals of their own.
The Pioneers have a roster complied with three seniors and 13 underclassmen (two juniors, six sophomores and five freshmen), which coming into the season, knowing they would fill a lot of spots and help hold the team in the season.
“We lost a lot of seniors and [have] newcomers coming in,” Cumiskey said. “At practices, we’re working hard [and finding] those easy cutters. We have great chemistry together and that paid off today.”
In total, Cumiskey tallied eight points on the afternoon, with five goals and three assists.
The defensive effort, led by sophomore Kaylee Marzynski contained the Minutemen, especially with the close chances they would get. Outside of the brief pressure which resulted in goals, New Providence didn’t allow Newark Academy much time in their zone.
“We want to make sure we’re crashing on defense and helping out our adjacent so if someone went in, we would contain them and they wouldn’t be able to get a shot off,” Marzynski said. “We would move around and make sure we’re moving the ball and we didn’t let them score.”
Overall, New Providence buckled down on defense, keeping Newark Academy out of their zone for almost the entire first half and the second portion of the second half. Henry added the defensive style the team has been practicing has been fairly new from the start of the season.
“We pretty much have a new defense,” Henry said. “We graduated a lot of seniors that had helped us be successful last year. So this year, we’ve been working together. We try and work on our communication and just make sure we’re all trying to work together and it looked like it all paid off today.”
Newark Academy added two quick goals in the final minute of the first half, with New Providence carrying a 10-2 lead going into halftime.
New Providence received four goals in the second half, three of them coming from Cumiskey, senior Elena DelDuca, and Miller (two goals). Miller finished with five points, three assists to go along with the two goals. Sophomore Sophia Marinello tallied the other Pioneers goal in the offensive-fueled effort in the win.
Kaitlin Weiss had two of Newark Academy’s goals, with Madeline Christman tallying the other one.
The New Providence Pioneers (1-0) remain home to take on Caldwell HS Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
The Newark Academy Minutemen (0-1) return home for their home opener against Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS Monday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.