NEWTOWN – Playing goalie on a lacrosse team is akin to being a traffic director during an intercity rush hour. It takes total concentration to handle the whirling mass of activity that surrounds you. Council Rock North knows they have the perfect person to man the job in Margaret D’Auria.
True to her competitive nature, Margaret launched her lacrosse career in fourth grade. It was then she knew she needed a new challenge. “I always played a sport every season and I was tired of softball so I decided to try lacrosse.”
Margaret found lacrosse perfectly suited her personality. “I liked how fast-paced it was. My attention span is not the longest and I like things that are quick, fast-paced and always keep you moving and on your toes.”
Initially, she directed her energy toward the attack end of the field. “In fourth grade, it was more of a free-for-all. The coaches would put you in any position you wanted. I really liked the attack back then.”
Despite some parental opposition, Margaret soon gravitated to the goalie position. “The first game in fifth grade, they needed a goalie. My mom actually told me not to play goalie because you’re already a soccer goalie. I said if no one else volunteers, I will. I really liked it the first game, so I kept going.”
Her new position provided Margaret the chance to challenge her already strong athletic prowess. “I like how it’s very easy to compare yourself to how you’ve been in the past. I like to see clearly trackable progress. With the stat lines goalies have, it’s easy to see what saves you should make and what ones are tougher.”
Margaret soon discovered that staying focused is essential for a keeper. “You have to really keep your eye on the ball and give all your attention to it. You can’t take a mental break in the middle of the game. All your mental energy has to be directed on the ball, on the game and on the positioning of the field.”
The concentration often results in quick, split-second decisions and catlike reflexes. “You have to really know your arc and how to work it. You have to have your mechanics down. Then, it’s just the judgement of thinking where the ball is coming down and when it will be released.”
Margaret admits her tendency is to pounce on an opponent as soon as possible. She instinctively wants to attack the other team’s attackmen. “That’s tough. Usually, it’s a judgement call. It’s hard because I want to jump a little earlier than I should. If I see them running at me without a defender, I tend to jump. The thing I’m working on now is to be more patient when it comes to the shooting. Patience is not my strong suite in any aspect of life.”
Most Indian fans would find little to criticize when evaluating Margaret’s performance in goal. Her senior presence has helped stabilize a relatively young Council Rock North team. At any game, you can hear her voice clearly barking out orders to her youthful teammates.
“I always try to tell the defense where the ball is in respect to the goal. That way, they know when a pick’s coming or when they’re isolated. I generally like to talk and I’m pretty loud.”
Margaret’s excellent goaltending coupled with Anna Lehman’s scoring touch has helped the Indians start to meld their talents.
“We’re a very young team. We have only five seniors. A lot of young kids are moving up from junior varsity to varsity. There’s definitely a lot of learning and teaching for the older girls to do. As the season progresses, we’re starting to get to know each other as players. The chemistry is starting to gel.”
Presently, the Rock holds a 1-1 Suburban One League (SOL) record with a 9-6 conquest of Pennsbury and a 14-5 loss to Central Bucks East. Margaret believes that greater consistency will help improve that mark in the second half of the season.
“Our main goal is to keep our intensity level high during a game. We tend to have a lull in the middle of a game where the other team will go on a run of five or six unanswered goals. We’re working on keeping the intensity up for 50 minutes and not letting down.
“In the second half of our recent Springfield game, we looked really good and I thought that is how we want to play.”
With an inspirational force such as Margaret on the field, the young Indians are bound to gain in athletic maturity as the season progresses.
TOP PHOTO: Council Rock North senior goalkeeper Margaret D’Auria (42) gets set to block Brigitte Bishop’s (3) shot for CB East in a recent girls lacrosse matchup between the schools. (John Gleeson – 21st-Century Media)