WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield High School girls varsity lacrosse team will open its 2019 season Wednesday at Northern Highlands High School in Bergen County at 5 p.m.
Head coach Abby Cohn is enthusiastic about both the way the Lady Blue Devils have moved the ball on offense and the way they have defended the net on defense during the pre-season.
Although graduated players from last year's team — Natalie Bond, Sydney Paoletti, Catherine Moriarty, McKenna Edmondson — won't be easy to replace, Cohn has been enouraged by the chemistry among this year's holdovers as well as some of the newcomers to the varsity.
Westfield will have one returning senior player in each third of the field, with Olivia Shields on attack, Carley Farella in midfield and Claire Yamano on defense. Shields, a Bucknell University commit, scored 43 goals and assisted on 21 more last season. Farella, who is headed to the University of Colorado-Boulder, flicked in 26 goals as a junior.
Other returners for the Blue Devils are junior midfielder Mikaela Buoscio, sophomore defender Brooke Scheuermann and sophomore goalkeeper Mia Fleming, who saw significant varsity time in goal as a ninth-grader.
New to the varsity, but players from whom Cohn expects measurable impact, are juniors LJ Kehler (D/M), Grace Friedberg (D) and Ana Fowler (M), and sophomores Maggie Aslanian (A) and Tate Fallon (G).
“This season, we have both returners and newcomers who are going to make a significant impact on our season on all ends of the field,” said Cohn, whose team was 12-8 last year. “We are looking to repeat and exceed our successes from last season. We would like to make it further in both the county and state tournaments as well as to improve our overall record.”
Westfield's ability to achieve that success will rest largely with the Lady Blue Devils' ability to exhibit the balance that the coach has seen from them in the pre-season.
“Our strengths include our defensive and offensive units,” Cohn said. “Our ball movement on attack as well as our relentless defense are what set us apart.”