NORTH SALEM, N.Y.— North Salem’s girls lacrosse team finished 2016 with a 13-6 record and lost to section champion Bronxville in the Class C semifinals.
U.S. Lacrosse implemented a Class D this season and the Tigers will move down into the new class with a deep playoff run on their minds.
With a wealth of returning players on the roster and talent to spare, a trip to the section final is very much a possibility.
“While we are still one of the smallest schools, we will be extremely competitive and our goal is to play in the Section 1 Class D Final,” North Salem coach Chris Werlau said.
Junior Lydia Werlau, a team captain, leads the attack. The Sacred Heart-bound Werlau finished last season with a team-leading 56 goals on her way to all-section honorable mention honors. Fellow junior Kelly McCarthy will see a bigger role on attack this season and coach Werlau expects her to make an impact.
The Tigers boast an impressive midfield with sophomore Grace Curran and senior Haley Vermette, a captain, leading the way. Curran has the ability to finish and create opportunities for her teammates, displayed by her 36 goals and 16 assists last year. She has already verbally committed to play lacrosse at Rutgers University.
The Oneonta-bound Vermette transitions from defense to midfield and earned all-section honorable mention a year ago.
Junior Katie Wagner will step into a starting role this season and brings quickness and is strong in transition, according to coach Werlau.
“We will be playing with 5-7 midfielders on the field who can transition from midfield to defense or attack,” coach Werlau said. “Our strength is the athleticism and knowledge of many of our players and ability to play multiple positions.”
Fellow junior Amira Flayhan is currently nursing an injury but is expected to return and have an immediate impact at midfield.
Stetson-bound senior Kiera McCarthy, a captain, returns in net and is a four-year starter with over 200 career saves.
Two other captains will help McCarthy lead a veteran defense in senior Catherine Bossi and junior Amy Fetterolf.
“Catherine played as a reserve defender the last few years and has great speed and athleticism,” coach Werlau said. “Amy played all over the field the past two years. She is expected to be a leader on defense and at midfield and is a three-year starter.”
Gabrielle Marino, Lauren Vermette, Jenna Murphy, Amanda Halstead, Jessica Reiner, Colleen McCarthy and Emma Cindrich are also expected to be strong contributors to the team.
With no JV team, the Tigers have a large varsity roster which is rounded out by Ashley Farraj, Ellie Molina, Maddie Wagner, Alyssa Freedman, Isabela Fox-Mills and Sofia Singer.
The Tigers open their season where it ended last year against host Bronxville at 5:15 p.m. on Monday, April 3.
“Our main goal is to work together and create good chemistry on and off the field which will contribute to their success,” coach Werlau said. “Our team was ranked 13th in Section 1 at the end of the 2016 season. While we are the second smallest school, we have the ability to compete with some of the best schools in the section.”
With the snowy weather, North Salem has had difficulty getting outdoors for practice, but coach Werlau hopes that will change this week.
“We have not had the opportunity to practice outdoors on a full field, which is a major obstacle,” she said. “But the girls’ dedication, passion and love of the sport has enabled them to be competitive in the past and will once again this season.”