Randolph, NJ- The 2017 Randolph girls’ lacrosse team will sport a roster led by three strong seniors, who will be supported by a host of underclassmen, as they look to improve upon a 5-12 campaign from last season.
Record setting midfielder TT Naslonsky, who has committed to play at Rutgers, will be a team captain and leader out on the field as she enters her senior campaign.
“TT brings a speed and versatility like no other player I've seen,” said head coach Michelle Poole. “Her speed and agility make it very difficult for anyone to defend her, and her tenacity is what really makes her stand out. She wants the ball in her stick whenever she can get it.”
Expectations are that opposing teams will have their eye on Naslonski game in and game out, so the Lady Rams will also look to senior Brenna Lawler, who has committed to play at Allengheny College to guide her line mates to provide some scoring from the Attack position.
“In order to have success this year, we must stay as a unit and communicate with each other on the field,” said Naslonski. “Our coaches encourage communication and limiting turnovers, and have us working very hard on completing successful transitions.”
As for the rest of the midfield and up front on attack, the team will rely on juniors Brynn and Jillian Fantuzzi, Romana Hladky, and Sydney Jenkins to provide the team with offense.
Senior goalie Sutton Todd, the teams other captain, has been the Lady Rams anchor for multiple seasons, and brings valuable experience in net.
“Sutton is our brick wall in the goal,” said Poole. “She's also able to help push fast breaks with her vision on clears, and she's a great communicator out there on the field.”
Although the defense is loaded with underclassmen, many of the juniors return with experience after having earned time on the varsity field as sophomores. Caitlyn Dempsey, Ashley Kapp, and Mackenzie Sheehan will be looked at to man the back line on defense
“Mackenzie Sheehan has been one of our most solid defenders,” said Poole. “She has stepped up as our defensive leader on the field, and has gone above and beyond our expectations as a junior.”
As for newcomers to the team, a mix of sophomores and juniors will also see time at various positions during the season. In midfield and on attack, sophomores Kyra Horten, Caroline Potter, and Carly Snarski hope to make their presence felt, while juniors Alexandra Locke and Kelsey Szot will look to do the same. On defense, sophomore Kristine Lynch and junior Sarah Leneghan will be part of the rotation.
The Lady Rams are eager to get off on the right foot and improve over last season, arriving at preseason camp more than ready to go.
“Many of our returning players worked hard in the preseason and are coming into this season in great shape,” said Naslonski. “The whole team participated in two preseason training sessions, and our coaches were impressed as our team average for the mile run improved dramatically from previous years.”
Overall, Poole and her staff feel that their young squad is coming together quite well as the season is just kicking off.
“The underclassmen are definitely stepping up and filling in some gaps,” said Poole. “They're gaining confidence every day, learning how to play with their teammates, and learning everyone's tendencies. We're pleasantly surprised.”
Poole is entering her first season at the helm, however being an assistant for the past two seasons has given her a good handle on what each of the players on her squad can do.
“We have a strong group of returning starters and a great group of new players to add to our team,” said Poole “We are hoping to do much better than last year in our conference play, as well as counties and states.”
The Lady Rams started the season off with a strong win over Pope John on Wednesday Mar. 29, running away from the Lions in the second half to earn a 14-6 victory.
Naslonski starred with eight goals, one assist, and four ground balls. Carley Snarski and Roma Hladky collected two goals and three ground balls apiece, while Jillian Fantuzzi and Kelsey Szot had a goal apiece. Sutton Todd had 15 saves in net to earn the win.
The Lady Rams play next on Friday Mar. 31 at Glen Rock