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High school girls lacrosse preview: Spartans ready to make move

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ADAMS — Though last season ended with a disappointing loss in sectionals, the experience has lingered in a positive way for the South Jefferson girls lacrosse team.

Following one of their best showings in the Frontier League in the program’s history last spring, the Spartans then went toe-to-toe with Marcellus in a Class C sectional semifinal.

Though South Jefferson lost 12-8 to the Mustangs, who went on to reach the state title game, the setback left an impression as well as providing plenty of motivation.

“For me, it was kind of an eye opener,” junior attack Morgan Alexander said. “Because they are aggressive defensively and their offense really works well together. We hadn’t played a team of that caliber yet, so it was great to play them. They were different compared to some of the other teams we played.”

After losing twice in the league last season, South Jefferson’s goal is to finally break through and claim the program’s first league crown.

“This is the year for us, really,” Alexander added. “We went pretty far and we really learned a lot of from last year. So I can see us going pretty far this year.”

This season, the Spartans return 23 players, including most of their starters, from a 15-3 squad.

“Our team is very skilled and knowledgeable about the game,” South Jefferson coach Jen Williams said. “Team chemistry and cohesion will determine our fate throughout the season. We have 13 upperclassmen who have played together for at least three years now.”

The Spartans appear to be a tight-knit group that could pay off in the long run.

“We’re pretty excited,” junior midfielder Clarissa Perry said. “Because we have a lot of young, talented players, and we’ve been working so hard in the offseason to get ready for this year.”

This junior group have mostly been together on the field since they were eighth-graders, including several who have played together at various levels since grade school,

“There’s a lot of juniors and sophomores who have been playing together for a long time,” Perry said. “We’ve gotten to know each really well had how we play, so we’re looking forward to working together again this season.”

“We have some pretty good team chemistry this year,” senior goalie Courtney Ziegler said.

South Jefferson’s league losses last were both to defending league champion Watertown — both one-goal games, including a 10-9 setback in double overtime in Adams.

“It was kind of a heartbreaker, because we had worked so hard,” Alexander said. “And it’s kind of harsh to lose in overtime, but I think we learned from that as well.”

Leading the offense should be Alexander, who, as a sophomore, finished second in the league in goals (72) and third in points (85).

“On the attack end of the field, Morgan is or go to player, however with that said she will have to work very hard to fend off the face guard and double teaming she will face,” Williams said. “With this, her teammates will be able to show that they have just as much to offer to our well balanced scoring attack.”

Perry will be counted on to anchor the midfield after totaling 71 points, including 53 goals.

“In the midfield we are strong and have different ways of leadership, not much vocal leadership but their presence in their positions make them feel confident in their roles,” Williams said.

Ziegler will back a defensive group that lost Megan Hanson, whom Williams called “the communicator” and defensive leader, to graduation.

“Our senior goalie has become more confident in communicating to the defense to make necessary adjustments,” Williams said of Ziegler, who allowed 108 goals last year while making 111 saves. “Our junior defender Kyra Kempney is probably the best defender in the league, and it’s partly because of her communication on the field, it’s strong, loud and effective.”

Ziegler is one of three senior captains along with midfielder Madesyn Alexander and defender Lexi Smith.



Here is a look at the Frontier League this season:

Frontier League

Outlook: Defending champion Watertown has won two of the past three league titles, including a perfect 10-0 showing in the circuit last year. The Cyclones lost plenty of firepower with the graduation of Brianne Arthur (74 goals-36 assists-110 points), now starring for Division I Binghamton University, along with Morgan Cadwell (55-22-77) and Ashley Flick (38-20-58). Watertown returns 11 players from a team that defeated East Syracuse-Minoa, 14-13 in double overtime in the Section 3 semifinals before it was beaten by eventual Class B state champion Christian Brothers Academy in the title game at the Carrier Dome. The Cyclones roster includes nine juniors, including midfielder Morgan Girardi (15-9-24) and Alyssa Barrett (14-5-19) at attack, with sophomores Olivia Miles (26 goals, 10 assists at Immaculate Heart Central last season) at midfield and Kira Kolb on defense expected to play key roles as well. “This appears to be a very balanced team with serious potential,” Watertown coach Tim Burr said. “We are eager to see how we will compete in a league loaded with outstanding teams.” General Brown forged a nine-victory campaign last year, which included a 5-5 mark and a third-place finish in the league. The Lions sport 11 returnees, including six of seven offense-oriented players. Among the players back for General Brown, include scoring leaders BryannaFazio (51-40-91), who finished second in the league last year in points, as well as Hannah Peebles (32-19-51), Emily Amell (39-11-50) and Miah Rowland (25-24-49). “With a balanced attack, we intend to compete for the Frontier League championship as well as make a run into sectionals,” General Brown coach Katie Clough said. IHC returns 12 players from last season’s fourth-place 7-8 team. Among the returners are senior captains Rachel O’Brien and Sara Pignone, both at attack, and Anna Puccia on defense. Carthage will look to “be much more competitive in the league this season” with 13 returning players, including nine seniors. Returners Mackenzie Kidder (30-9-39) and Doria Darroch paced the Comets offensively last season. Indian River hopes to improve on a seven-win season, but lost top scorers Katie Brierton (48-32-80) and Paige Fayette (47-14-61) to graduation as well as the bulk of its defensive corps. “We will once again be relying on plenty of youngsters, with no seniors on the roster,” Indian River coach Fred Lavancha said.

Carthage Comets

Coach: Sue Gallagher

2013 Record: (4-10 overall, 3-7 league)

Players to watch: Taylour Campbell, Doria Darroch, Mackenzie Kidder, Hannah Millich, Claire Sauter, Carly Sullivan.

Roster: Rebecca Abbott (Sr., G), Mariana Ames (Sr., A), Taylour Campbell (Sr., D), Doria Darroch (Sr., A), Mackenzie Kidder (Sr., M), Hannah Millich (Sr., M), Gabriella Park (Sr., A), Claire Sauter (Sr., D), Carly Sullivan (Sr., M), Mia Darroch (Jr., A), Bryanna Gagnon (Jr., M), Alyssa Kamide (Jr., D), Gabrielle O’Brien (Jr., D), Meaghan Paige (Jr., A), Carolyn Stevens (Jr., D), Shannon Davis (So., G), Alexis Smith (So., M), Jacqueline Williams (So., M), Peyton Romig (Fr., M), Braelie Kempney (8th gr., A).

General Brown Lions

Coach: Katie Clough

2013 Record: (9-5, 5-5)

Players to watch: Emily Amell, Nancy Bauter, Bryanna Fazio, Cayla O’Connor, Hannah Peebles.

Roster: Nancy Bauter (Sr., D/M), Jill Primicias (Sr., A/M), Emily Amell (Jr., M), Maddie Comins (Jr., A), Bryanna Fazio (Jr., A), Katelyn Longamore (Jr., G), Emily Malone (Jr., D), Cayla O’Connor (Jr., M), Hannah Peebles (Jr., M), Kennady Eager (So., D), Cortney Hughes (So., D), Kayla McCabe (So., D/M), Nicole Rowe (So., G), Miah Rowland (So., A), Hailey Tibbles (So, A), Tessa Connell (Fr., D), Tori Pacini (Fr., A), Erin Parks (Fr., M/A), Courtney Sartwell (Fr., A).

IHC Cavaliers

Coach: Jason Burto

2013 Record: (7-8, 3-7)

Players to watch: Jaid Baytos, Erin Dingman, Rachel O’Brien, Sara Pignone, Danielle Pound, Anna Puccia.

Roster: Vera Freda (Sr., A), Rebecca Lazore (Sr., M), Rachel O’Brien (Sr., A), Sara Pignone (Sr., A), Danielle Pound (Sr., M/D), Anna Puccia (Sr., D), Kristen Stone (Sr., D), Jaid Baytos (Jr., M), Elizabeth Borras (Jr., A), Erin Dingman (Jr., M), Alyssa Roderick (Jr., A), Skylar Short (Jr., D), Kendall Carroll (So., D), Charisse Lapointe (So., M/D), Allison McElheran (So., G), Colleen Patenaude (So., A), Elizabeth Gefell (Fr., M), Mollie Guyette (Fr., M), Anna O’Neil (Fr., D), Julia O’Brien (8th gr., A/M).

Indian River Warriors

Coach: Fred Lavancha

2013 Record: (7-10, 1-9)

Players to watch: Sarah Mattingly, Sarah Nabywaniec.

Roster: Alex Berge (Jr., A), Sidney Black (Jr., M), Bailey Crow (Jr., D), Cassandra Kiechle (Jr., D), Ally Lynch (Jr., D), Sarah Mattingly (Jr., M), Kelsi Nabywaniec (Jr., M), Mareinne Alibudbud (So., D), Sofia Belles (So., D), Meghan Bryant (So., M), TaPanga Fettig (So., A), Megan Lynch (So., D), Rebecca Monica (So., G), Ashlyn Tillman (So., A), Kiki Fann (Fr., D), Brynne LaFave (Fr., A), Courtney Trudeau (Fr., A).

South Jefferson Spartans

Coach: Jen Williams

2013 Record: (15-3, 8-2)

Players to watch: N/A

Roster: Madesyn Alexander (Sr., M), Lexi Smith (Sr., D), Courtney Ziegler (Sr., G), Morgan Alexander (Jr., A), Julia Bast (Jr., D), Courtney Cavellier (Jr., D), Marissa Clark (Jr., D), Stephanie Green (Jr., A), Kiersten Guthro (Jr., M), Kyra Kempney (Jr., D), Kia Morgia-Horning (Jr., M), Maddie Knapp (Jr., A), Keagan Nowlin (Jr., G), Clarissa Perry (Jr., M), Sydney Robert (Jr., M), Dana Cowles (So., M), Molly Denny (So., M), Tatyana Fish (So., D), Sidney Hall (So., M), Cierra Lucas (So., D), Hayley Maguire (So., M), Hailey Pooler (So., A), Quincey Zimmerman (So., M).

Watertown Cyclones

Coach: Tim Burr

2013 Record: (16-3, 10-0)

Players to watch: Alyssa Barrett, Morgan Girardi, Kira Kolb, Olivia Miles.

Roster: Miranda Gilbert (Sr., M), Kathryn Harrienger (Sr., A), Izzy Marsala (Sr., D), Courtney Netto (Sr., D), Taylor Rick (Sr., A), Alyssa Barrett (Jr., A), Nellie Dephtereos (Jr., D), Courtney Gebo (Jr., A), Nicole Gilbert (Jr., D), Morgan Girardi (Jr., M), Grace King (Jr., M), Sarah Miles (Jr., D), Maddy Recore (Jr., M), Jamie Shaw (Jr., D), Kira Kolb (So., D), Olivia Miles (So., M), Madisyn Exford (Fr., A), Jill Girardi (Fr., M), Lauren Girardi (Fr., G).

NAC Outlook

Salmon River has been the top boys team in the Northern Athletic Conference in recent years and the Shamrocks figure to be strong again this year. Salmon River went 14-0 in area play a year ago and returns key players Dalton Roundpoint, Kason Tarbell, Kyle Lewis and Skylar Thomas from that squad.

St. Lawrence Central, 12-2 a year ago, is led by Kody Kocsis, Lukas Arquiett and Marshall Burninghausen. Canton (10-4 last year) should be another team near the top. The Golden Bears offense wlll be led by Payton Van Bibber, Jake Facey and Josh Huiatt. Massena, 8-6 in 2013, returns standout Grayson Phillips as well as Sako Rourke and Rhoades Tarbell.

Massena (11-1 last year) was the top girls team in the area, but lost their two best scorers — Erin Francis and Alisha Jacobs, to graduation. Potsdam (10-2) could move back to the top of the conference, led by Annettte Rishe and Kalie Grant. Canton (8-4) returns Rachael Huntley and Meg Howard. Another all-star from last year returning is Heuvelton’s Jackie Sovie.

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