NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - A year after advancing deep into the postseason, the New Providence girls lacrosse team is not resting on its laurels.

The Pioneers compiled 12 wins last season and unfortunately, many of the key players on that team such as Samantha Carter, Caroline Fairfax, Catherine Marzynski, Lauren Pope, Samantha Scott, and Sarah Zeto have graduated.

“Seven talented seniors graduated last year including our goalie and all but one defender,” head coach Jennifer Henry said.

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Despite the heavy graduation losses, the Pioneers are not feeling sorry for themselves and have showed the proper work ethic thus far this preseason that could help offset those losses.

“We have an amazing young group of players,” Henry said. “When the group has been able to practice, they have been focused and have worked hard. The more advanced and experienced players have been helpful and patient when working with the less experienced players.”

Among the veterans and holdovers from last year’s squad that Henry has leaned on for leadership are senior Iris Kaloshi and sophomores Kaitlyn Cumiskey, Sadie Miller, and Nicole Darling. Cumiskey’s solid freshman season garnered her Third Team Group 1 honors.

Cumiskey, Miller, and Kaloshi will once again hold down the midfield spots, and Henry expects the trio to once again hold their own.

“Our midfield starters from 2017 remain intact,” Henry said. “Iris, Kaitlyn, and Sadie return and will be our foundation when rebuilding our attack and midfield.”

In a season after losing a plethora of key contributors, defense will be key and Darling is one of the players that Henry expects to help hold down the fort.

“We are working to build up our defense with the help of one of our stronger sophomores, Nicole Darling,” Henry said. “Her leadership and defensive experience will be key to our rebuilding.”

The “rebuilding” term is one that just about all coaches cringe upon hearing but at the same time, they know it’s a necessity. Henry accepts the fact that the 2018 spring season could be a rebuilding one.

And with the Pioneers once again embarking on a tough schedule, growing pains are expected. “Our schedule consists of our conference games, crossovers, and a few additional games,” Henry said. “We are looking to take one game at a time, adjusting and growing as the season progresses.”

“All teams have their ‘rebuilding’ years. We are hopeful that this season we can rebuild as well as continue moving forward building off the success we had from last season.”

Season home opener is Thursday, March 29 against Newark Academy with a 4 p.m. start.