SHRUB OAK, N.Y.— Last year Lakeland/Panas’ girls lacrosse squad made it to the Section 1 Class A quarterfinals, where, as the No. 7 seed, it lost at No. 2 Suffern, 20-9. This year, after a 12-6 campaign, the Rebels look to go farther.
“A lot of people underestimate our team because we are so young,” Lakeland/Panas senior defender Mia Lennon said. “Our league is much more challenging this year, but I believe that we have what it takes to compete against the strong teams in our area. Our main goal is to make it farther than we did last year. We want improvement and we’re going to work as hard as we can to make a big run this year.”
Lennon, a captain who is coming off a fall season in which she was named All-American for the state champion Lakeland field hockey squad, will be expected to provide leadership for her mostly younger teammates.
“I think an important part of leadership is maintaining a positive attitude,” Lennon said. “Our team is very young this year, which is definitely going to be a challenge. But I think that we have the same expectations of ourselves as we did during the field hockey season, and as some girls had during their swimming, basketball and soccer seasons. It’s easy to provide leadership with a group of girls who are so determined to do well and grow together as a team.”
One of the Rebels’ key players on attack will be sophomore Emily Kness.
“Emily’s goal-scoring abilities are important to our team’s success this year,” Lennon said. “She may be young, but she’s really stepped up as a leader on the team.”
Junior Kristen Kelly and freshman Megan Mucci will provide the attack unit with speed on and off ball, and create a lot of attacking opportunities.
Leading the midfield will be senior Carlyn Mucci, a captain coming off a 51-goal season, who will play lacrosse at Pace University next year.
“Carlyn has been a top player for a couple of years now,” Lennon said. “She’s fast and has strong stick skills, and a very good shot. She’s going to be a crucial piece in our offensive and defensive teams.”
Junior Kelsey McCrudden and freshman Raquel Nieves will also play key roles in the midfield for a Rebels’ squad coached by Rebecca DiSisto with Sharon Sarsen as assistant.
“Kelsey is a very deceptive player. She uses her speed and skills to her advantage and creates a lot of very important plays,” Lennon said. “Raquel may be young, but she’s dangerous. She’s all-around quick with both her speed and skills, and her ability to create shots is impressive for being so young.”
Leading the defense will be Lennon.
“I’m hoping that I’m able to keep our team composed and organized in chaotic situations in the defense,” Lennon said.
Sophomores Cayci Hill and Gianna Scialdone, and junior Julia Papanicolaou will also play a big factor defensively.
“All three players are very smart defensively. They’re able to read the other teams strengths and adjust where they need to,” Lennon said.
In goal, the Rebels are fortunate to have a talented trio in freshman Miranda Lopes, sophomore Caitlyn Jackson and senior Kiera Scott.
“They are all very talented goalies,” Lennon said. “They’ve been working a lot on their clearing and quick reflexes and I’m excited to see them in goal this season.”
That season that started this week (March 28) at last year’s Class B state finalist and crosstown rival Yorktown.
“We really want to go out there and show everyone that we’re ready to compete,” Lennon said. “We’ve been working a lot on the things we can control in a game, like our stick skills, fitness and basic offensive and defensive skills. I think if we use those things to our advantage we’ll start off on the right track.”