LANSDALE >> It would be very difficult to find a scenario the seniors on Archbishop Carroll’s girls lacrosse team haven’t been through during their careers.
With 13 seniors on the roster, many of them multi-year contributors or starters on varsity, the Patriots look poised to contend for their third straight PCL title and make a push for a second state title in three years. Having that type of experience and depth, which extends beyond even the senior class, is just a benefit as Carroll navigates a tough schedule.
Carroll got tested right out of the gate, but the Patriots captains felt that’s only a good thing as they discussed the team’s start following Tuesday’s 19-2 win at Lansdale Catholic.
“In the beginning of the season, we struggled staying on our toes in the second half of games but we’re getting much better with that,” senior co-captain Madison Henry said.
“We’re really strong in the beginning, we get such good energy at the start of games,” co-captain Liza Dellarata said. “We just need to work on staying in the game for all 50 minutes but we’re getting better each game.”
Carroll hasn’t shied away from competition either. So far, the Patriots have played Upper Dublin, defending PIAA Class AA champion Villa Maria Academy, state AAA qualifier Perkiomen Valley and New Jersey powerhouse Lawrenceville School in their nonleague slate.
Currently 2-0 in the PCL, the Patriots are also expecting some challenges in the league as they try to make it three straight titles.
“They challenged us a lot and it makes us have to depend on each other,” captain Amber Germer said. “We really use each other as a team and work together so when we’re playing, it’s as a unit and not as individual players.”
“Those games showed us what we have to work on and it’s better to find that out now rather than later,” Henry added.
The trio of captains agreed their team is well-balanced and it comes inherently from having such a large and tested senior class. While they’re the captains, they aren’t the only ones who lead the team and it certainly helps the Patriots cover for each other.
Henry said the Patriots have done well running plays on offense and when they really have needed a goal so far this season, “we get it.” On the other end, Dellarata said the defense has been very strong playing as a unit that meshes their individual skills and strengths together.
“Our biggest advantage is how close we are as a team,” Germer said. “It really shows on the field because we’re able to trust each other and work together as opposed to everyone trying to do it by themselves.”
With more seniors than starting spots, and a score of underclassmen who have found their way into the lineup, there’s also a lot of internal competition between the Patriots. That kind of in-house drive is something the seniors inherited from the upperclassmen before them and it really makes for some intense practice sessions.
“We’re really close off the field but at practice, we go at each other like enemies,” Dellarata said. “We play like that against each other, so it really helps a lot when we face other teams.
“We’ve practiced against each other for four years, so we’re all pretty confident that if you pass to anyone else, it’s the same as having the ball in your stick.”
“From the time we were freshman and all the way coming up, the upperclassmen always instilled the Carroll ways,” Germer said. “As we’ve gone through, we’ve continued to develop that and now we’re passing it down to the juniors and sophomores. It’s what Carroll is known for, being that hard-working team.”
On top of that, the Patriots have built a culture of celebrating the little things, like a ground ball or a good transition pass, so that celebrating the payoff like goals or a defensive stop, feel even better when they happen.
The captains didn’t hesitate in saying their goal for this season is to capture a second state title. However, they know better than anyone that to do that, they need to get through District 12 first and the PCL before that.
“We have to keep our heads in that because if we don’t get that, we can’t do anything else,” Henry said. “I think winning that three times would itself be a pretty big accomplishment.
“We just want to go out on a high note.”
LC ENJOYING THE RIDE
Lansdale Catholic coach Kat Carnevale couldn’t have asked for a better group in her first season as the Crusaders’ coach.
It’s a pretty senior-heavy bunch with a lot of girls who play multiple sports but they’ve had a pretty good time together so far.
“It’s fun because they have this tradition and legacy and it’s been cool to come in and help them continue to build it and pass it on,” Carnevale said. “I’m lucky to be here and the girls are awesome.”
A neat tweak for the Crusaders this spring is the varsity and JV teams practice together. It can get a little crazy with a lot of players on one field, but it’s a good way to mix upper and underclassmen and help continue that tradition.
The Crusaders still want to compete this season and they have some really good athletes on the roster. Carnevale said the team is still confident and positive and even now, has come a long way from the start of the season.
“We’re just hoping to finish better than we started,” Carnevale said. “Every game, we’re just looking to improve on the little things and I think we’ve already made huge strides. We’re at about the halfway point now, so I’m looking forward to flipping another 180 and seeing where they can go.”