By John Orrell, Contributing Writer
Grafton – Spend even a small amount of time with the Grafton High (GHS) girls’ varsity lacrosse team and it’s a sure bet that the talent and confidence of this team will become almost instantly evident. Confidence is ever-present on teams at preseason, but with this team there is clearly something special developing.
It’s a squad that has recorded stellar campaigns the past two seasons (18-4 in 2015 and 16-5 in 2014), but just missed the goal that the team strived so hard to achieve, that being a Central/West Division 2 crown. Twice in as many years the team has fallen short departing Worcester’s Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium, dropping matchups in final round competition. It’s an experience that players and coaches are determined not to replicate, particularly seniors who want nothing more than a title before passing through the halls of GHS for the last time.
“The bar is high for us this year like it should be every year and we don’t want to lose,” affirmed 100 goal-scorer and senior co-captain Allie Fasold (38 goals in 2015), who recalls only too well the unsettling end of the last two seasons. “We want to go all the way so it’s always in the back of our minds. We’re working hard every day toward that goal.”
The team will be led by accomplished and talented senior co-captains Fasold, Gianna DiPinto, Cassie Moisan and Lauren Lyver. Their leadership on and off the field will be pivotal as the season progresses with younger players new to the system looking to them for guidance.
DiPinto is a 2015 Academic All-American, 100 goal-scorer and Worcester Telegram Super Team All Star who will be taking her competitive skills to Bates College in 2015. Her 48 goals in 2015 were a league best. Moisan will bring her skills to Lasell College while Lyver and Fasold are exploring post-graduation options. All four are Mid-State all-stars and members of the Central Mass. Lacrosse Club.
“I love seeing how close we are even though it’s just week two,” said DiPinto. “We’ve all been really close with each other and we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and that’s something we’ll use to our advantage this year because it’s going to make us stronger and allow us to be stronger even in future years.”
“Positivity and working as a team is the biggest thing we’re working on this year,” added Moisan. “We want to be a close-knit group and work together. This year we started off with good chemistry right away especially since we have a lot of returning players. We’re blending really well together.”
Seventh-year head coach Renee Bailey sees lots of positives and determination but equally important is the mutual support and respect players have for one another.
“We have our returning goalie (Kayla Sullivan). We have two players that last year earned 100 points. We have solid defense. We’re a little on the younger side but this team is definitely experienced,” said Bailey, who is assisted by Karl Moisan and Kristen Germain.
“We have outstanding, positive attitudes,” she added. “From day one, things have been nothing but positive and I think that’s going to take us far this year. Our captains are some of the best group of leaders I’ve seen since I’ve been here. Their work ethic is second to none and I think they’re going to do wonders for our younger kids.
“The kids and coaches are committed and as long as they keep stepping up their game and work hard, the want and desire to get there will take care of itself.”
“We did lose some talented players but at the same time we have a whole bunch of talented girls who are coming up from the younger grades and returning players who are really stepping up,” remarked Lyver, who struck for 28 goals in 2015. “I think we’ll have a great season.”
Members of the 2016 Grafton High girls varsity lacrosse team are seniors DiPinto, Fasold, Shannon Graham, Lyver, Kathryn Malloy and Moisan; juniors Cali Evans, Ryann Forte, Elizabeth Martel, Daley Miller and Hazel Wood; sophomores Meredith Broad, Allison Corcoran, Olivia Coveney, Carissa Recchia, Caitlyn Schonhoff, Kayla Sullivan, Maddie Sullivan and Erin Tyldesley; and freshmen Sophia Coveney, Calleigh Herren, Abigail Rogers, Julia Siemen and Isabella Spagnuolo.