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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The 2017 season left a bit of a sour taste in the mouths of the Wellesley High School girls lacrosse team, as the Raiders fell to arch rival and eventual Division I state champ Needham in the South semifinals.
This season, the Lady-Raiders return a roster that is stacked with talent and eager to get back to the tournament for another shot at the state title. Expectations are high, and for good reason.
Serving as one of three co-captains that will lead the Wellesley girls into battle this season is Stanford commit Caitlin Chicoski, who’s coming off of a ridiculous 84-point (61 goals, 23 assists) campaign as a junior in 2017. Chicoski’s 84 points and excellence both on the field and in the classroom were enough to earn her All-American, Academic All-American, and Globe/Herald All-Scholastic honors.
Also captaining the Wellesley girls laxers this spring are Phoebe Lawrence, who just captained and lead the Wellesley High School girls hockey team to a Division II state championship with a 1-0 over Canton at TD Garden on March 18, as well as William & Mary lacrosse commit Grace Ahonen.
“This is not a rebuilding year,” said Chicoski when asked about expectations of her team this season. “We are returning nearly our entire team, so it’s time to pick up where we left off and use this chemistry advantage to beat our competition. We also have some new additions that will help us improve. We want to be a feared competitor.”
As far as who to watch out for offensively, a humbled Chicoski says that she believes every member of the Raider attack/midfield core holds the ability to strike at any given moment. Chicoski also says that she expects a lot of Wellesley’s offensive production this season to be collectively spread throughout the team, due to their abilities to work together as a unit rather than just feeding to one individual player.
“There are many offensive threats on our attack,” said Chicoski. “We work as a real unit and there is a lot of offensive contributors. We have a lot of returners playing with confidence as well as some new players that are stepping up to the plate.”
While the 2018 Lady-Raiders may be an experienced bunch, with returnees such as the three captains and junior midfield/attacker Brooke Baker, Chicoski says she and her teammates are extremely high on their two freshmen representatives: goaltender Ella Kahrl and midfielder Maja Desmond.
“We only have two freshmen on the team this season with Ella [Kahrl] and Maja [Desmond],” said Chicoski. “Ella has proved herself to be an awesome addition and gives us some vital depth at goalie. Maja is a very hard worker and versatile player.”
Out of the sophomore class, the Raiders return several big names and also welcome in some newcomers.
“Sophie Natansohn and Emily Rourke both earned their spots on the team this year and will definitely help us have a great season,” said Chicoski on the pair of new-coming sophomores. “Returning, we have a nasty attacker in Bridget Noonan and another strong goalie in Anna Hereu. Faith Graves is another sophomore to look out for but unfortunately she is currently out with an injury. All of these players will help our team succeed in their own ways and all of them have an immense amount of potential.”
Chicoski also says that the training she and her teammates have done throughout the preseason has gone rather smoothly, and she is excited for what is to come this season.
“This preseason has been promising,” said Chicoski. “I’m very optimistic, and so are Grace and Phoebe. We’re excited for this season to start.”
The Wellesley girls will begin their quest for the state tournament on April 3 at Dover-Sherborn.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.