YORKTOWN, N.Y.-The last two years have been incredible for the Yorktown girls lacrosse squad, as it has defeated rival Somers both seasons in the Section 1 Class B title game before going on to the state finals in 2016 and semifinals last year.
To keep up that success, Husker senior Ellen O’Callaghan, who will play next season at the University of Pennsylvania, said that the team has to maintain the pride that is being a part of the Yorktown lacrosse program.
“Knowing that our success each season is not just our own, but shared with our coaches, parents, school and community, is a constant reminder of a desire to play our best every time we step on the field,” O’Callaghan said. “This honor is what gives each of us the work ethic to get to that level by the end of the season to hopefully see that same success from year to year. A third trip in a row to the state final four, is something every one of us, returners and new players alike, want more than anything.”
O’Callaghan, along with seniors Ciara Frawley (Cornell University) and Caroline Garti (Lafayette University), are the captains.
“I believe Ciara, Caroline and I will provide a unique leadership to the team this year,” O’Callaghan said. “We all have the common goal in mind of getting back to states and I think each of us motivates our fellow teammates to work hard now to benefit in the long run. I feel that we work well together and the combination of each of our individual traits, on and off the field, is the perfect assemblage of leadership that this team needs.”
Senior Caroline Keenaghan (Gettysburg College) at attack is phenomenal dodging from behind the net and getting around the crease before the defender even realizes it.
“She is also able to provide an offensive comfort in getting into the plays and settling the ball,” O’Callaghan said.
Also at attack, senior McKenna Duff has an amazing eye for feeds and is able to thread those passes to cutters in the middle for goals while Garti is tough as a bull according to O’Callaghan.
“She has a lethal dodge from up-top,” O’Callaghan said of Garti. “She also will help in taking and winning draws.”
O’Callaghan will play midfield, excelling on both sides of the ball.
“My experience allows me a great knowledge of the way both our defensive and offensive units run, allowing me to prosper in each scenario,” O’Callaghan said. “Specifically, I hope to help the team this year with my dodges from up top and hustle all over the field.”
Frawley has great skill in the draw and will surely win many for the Huskers this year.
“Ciara also plays well on both sides of the ball, being the voice of our defensive unit,” O’Callaghan said.
Sophomore Kelsey McDonnell is another key player at midfield. She is quick to ball, which serves her well in 50/50 situations and in addition, she has great talent in getting to the goal for a shot.
On defense, senior Mackenzie Merson is aggressive yet strategic with checks and knows when to slide or double.
Junior defender Jenna McPherson (Manhattan College) has quick feet, great defensive presence due to her toughness and will help the Huskers a lot in clearing the ball up the field.
Sophomore Noelle Cegielski provides the defense with someone who is super fast.
“She is great on pressured defense and panicking the attack,” O’Callaghan said. “She will also help in getting the ball up-field off the clear.”
Freshman Sophia Altimari is Yorktown’s starting goalie.
“She has no fear in net, always willing to take a hit,” O’Callaghan said. “Soph also has amazing reflexes, able to react quickly to changes in shots and passes.”
The Huskers, who were 12-9 last season, coaching staff consists of Yorktown graduates, head coach Lauren McAulay and assistant Sarah Scott, the latter who played on the 2013 national championship squad at the University of North Carolina, will start the season by hosting Tappan Zee at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22.
“Getting the season off to a good start will depend on our focus and confidence from the first whistle,” O’Callaghan said. “Often the first game is hard for a team to figure out their style and get into the atmosphere of a game situation, so I think preparing for that ahead of time, as we do with our focus every practice will ensure a good start.”