Girls lacrosse preps for success in the second half of the season


photo via Scott Dudek

For three weeks last March, the Knights girls lacrosse program took to the field every night, battling through wind, rain and the occasional, unexpected snow flurries. The varsity, composed of seasoned veterans, and the JV, filled with eager new recruits, all looked towards their first scrimmage and the upcoming season with a hopeful gaze. However, as with everything else COVID-19 took away last spring, the forthcoming season now fell into the history books. The 2020 season record: 0-0.


Now, with the worst of the pandemic in hindsight, the team has turned their attention to the 2021 season, working harder than ever to make up for lost time. And with almost half of the varsity program composed of new, unseasoned faces on top of their daunting schedule, they stand ready to prove themselves in the back half of their season. 2021 record so far: 1-7. 


However, don’t let that record deceive you. After a competitive 5-8 loss to Brecksville-Broadview Heights and an impressive 9-5 win over Boardman, the team faced an onslaught of one talented program after another. These crushing, yet hard-fought losses came from Wadsworth, St. Joseph Academy, Laurel, Walsh and Canfield—all of whom boast depth and talent on their roster. However, this trend of losses does show a consistent pattern other than the opponents’ prowess: cohesion.


“We have really struggled the past few games playing as a cohesive unit. With the stretch of tough programs we just played, we lost sight of the team effort and began to play for individualistic goals,” head coach Ben Wehmann said.  “We have had a couple great practices since and have regrouped. I believe the team will begin to trust in one another again and become a real threat in the latter half of the season.”


Now, headed into a more competitive stretch of games including a face-off with St. Vincent-St. Mary’s this Saturday, April 24, the team is ready for a run of their own. Determination to complete this comeback: high.


“Our team’s greatest strength is that we have multiple playmakers,” Wehmann said. “With so many accurate shooters with the proper lax IQ, we can be a threat from any side of the goal. We just need to work together to help find those open opportunities.”


These playmakers can be found making an impact all over the field. Leading the charge are senior captains Rennick Mellon and Giana Testa who have combined for 15 goals and one assist on the season and act as role models for the young roster. On the defensive side of the game, senior defender Emma Frascella and freshman midfielder Lane Shannon have stepped up for a combined 57 ground balls and 47 caused turnovers, lightening the burden put on goalkeepers sophomore Lola Snyder and junior Mia Gallagher, who boast 98 combined saves and a .515 save percentage. The talent to win: absolutely present.


But what truly defines this program is the leadership stemming from the seasoned veteran seniors, who act as the backbone and role models of the team. With the loss of the 2020 season, over half of the varsity roster had never played a high school lacrosse game—let alone a game period. The six seniors, all of whom boast a prior knowledge and experience with the sport, continuously work to instill the lessons of the game in these young future program leaders. Future of the program going forward: absolutely bright.


“The seniors show us how to learn from our losses and grow as a team,” sophomore attacker Molly Scanlon said.


Going forward, the team hopes to accomplish exactly this, taking the best moments from each game and allowing them to guide their objectives. With simple changes of perspective, concentration and good health, they hope to up their play level and pose a threat in the closing weeks of the regular season. 2021 final record: ?


“Rethinking how we would approach these hard games with more optimism is a key factor in playing well together and achieving what we have been striving for,” Wehmann said. “Mindset is everything!”


The girls are back in action on Tuesday, April 20 at Kent Roosevelt (JV at 5:30 pm, V at 7 pm) and return home for their rivalry face-off with St. Vincent-St. Mary on Saturday, April 24 (JV at 10 am, V at 7 pm).