Girls lacrosse program heads into second season
During the inaugural season for the Northwestern girls lacrosse program in 2019, head coach Lissa Opolsky had just three seniors and three juniors on the roster. While that meant the Tigers suited up very few upperclassmen last spring, the good news is that much of that squad is returning in 2020.
Assuming the spring sports season gets underway eventually amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, there is optimism surrounding Northwestern, despite going winless a season ago at 0-12.
For a sport that had been introduced at the youth level just a few years ago, there are still improvements that Opolsky and the Tigers are looking to make at the high school level.
“We would like to improve daily, making strides to improve fundamentals and an understanding of the game,” Opolsky said. “Of course we are looking forward to the first win for the program, and as many as we can get working a day at a time.”
The top returnees, according to Opolsky, include juniors Lexi Bleam and Charlotte Horn and sophomores Emilee and Sarah Schultz. Some of those, as well as other returning players for the Tigers, have competed in other sports in the past months.
While some of these players don’t have as much lacrosse experience as other teams in the area, they will benefit from playing other sports in the fall and winter seasons.
Opolsky has also worked with a number of those Tigers in field hockey as she is also the head coach of that team.
“They are young, but the girls have a lot of experience playing multiple sports,” Opolsky said. “They will look to the upperclassmen, who bring a lot of outside training and experience.”
There are also a number of newcomers expected to make an impact, which include freshmen Clair Costa, Ava Collins, Sydney Nyce and Alexa Vennera.
One area the Tigers must improve on from their first season is generating offensive scoring chances. In 2019, the Tigers’ main setback was the inability to keep up with teams offensively, an issue they will address once schools reopen and practices resume.
“We will constantly be working on our defensive presence and finishing offensive opportunities,” Opolsky said.