VERONA, NJ - Last year they made their first ever trip to the Essex County Tourney finals, by beating West Essex for the first time.  Verona Girls lacrosse is ready to build on that momentum and reach even farther in this spring's campaign.

"We lost one starter from last season which was our goalie," said head coach Suzanne Giarrusso. "Now that many of our players have a year of varsity experience under their belt, I'm looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish."

No doubt the team will feel the loss of goalie Amanda Maguire who made her 700th save last season, finishing the year with 200 saves and an over all career record of 724 saves.  Stepping into fill her shoes is sophomore Ashley Kenneally. 

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Key returners on the field include senior midfielder Dana Pena who scored her 100th goal last season and will play for Rutgers next year, senior midfielder Ava Anderson who had 44 goals and eight assists last season, junior attack Maggie Ashley with 48 goals and four assists last year, junior defense CC Courter and senior defense Guiliana Frizzi.  

Like other teams, the weather has impacted Verona's spring practice schedule, forcing the cancelation of scrimmages and moving practices indoors.  Giarrusso said it is hard to comment on her team's strengths and weaknesses under the circumstances, but she is anxious to put her team to the test now that the snow  has melted. 

"I will know more after seeing them play," she said.  Unfortunately the snow has canceled many of our scrimmages so far this season."

The Lady Hillbillies will open their season on March 29 when they host Montclair Kimberly Academy at 4 p.m.