CEDAR GROVE, NJ - During their first season in 2015, the Cedar Grove Girls Lacrosse team  played an abbreviated junior varsity season and dropped all six games, but showed improvement every game.  Last year, the team played 11 junior varsity games and finished at 9-2.  This year they embark on their first varsity season and look to continue that momentum and earn their first-ever varsity win.

"We are a first year varsity program and we are going to be competitive in as many games as we can," said head coach Sean Sweeney.  "We're very optimistic about this upcoming season."

As the Panthers hit the field for their 2017 campaign, they do so without last year's captain Rachel Bucchino at attack who scored 55 goals and delivered 12 assists -- leaving some big shoes to fill. Sweeney is counting on his experienced returners to lead the way.  

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Juniors midfielders Haley Diess (13 goals, seven assists) and Mikayla Hom (eight goals) are back to make their contribution on the field along with sophomore Bethany Peterson (22 goals) at attack and senior Jackie Downs in goal with 69 saves last year.  Two freshmen will join them on the field in the attack position -- Tracy Moreno and Taylor St. Laurent.   

Though they may face teams with more experience, Sweeney feels the teams work ethic is their greatest strength and he is optimistic about the season and confident the program has what it takes to be successful.

The Lady Panthers know that it will be a challenging season and plan to take it one game at a time -- and to get that first varsity victory.

Cedar Grove opens its season at home on March 30 against Boonton at 4 p.m.