By Sophia Ricco
Unity on and off the field has been key to the Northport varsity girls lacrosse team’s victories so far this season.
The Tigers hope to continue this momentum into the playoffs. Head coach Carol Rose, feels the girls have been playing great, earning their 13-1 record. The team began the season ranked first in the league, after winning the League Championship and making it to County Finals the past two years.
“The kids have been playing very well together,” Rose said. “As a team, there are many people contributing to our team’s success.”
This season, Rose directed the girls’ focus to team-bonding activities. By building the team’s chemistry off the field, the girls work more cohesively on the field. It is crucial in game-situations for the girls to move like a well-oiled machine.
“There are so many people on the field at one time,” Rose said. “It’s cliche, but there’s no I in team and it’s true. You need everybody to perform and do their job. Everyone has a role and responsibility, that makes the team better.”
Another area of the girl’s psyche Rose is working to build up is “mental toughness” to prepare the girls for any cognitive battles they may have while playing.
“The kids have bought into their roles, they know what they are,” Rose said. “I believe that’s what makes the team successful, they are a cohesive unit, no matter what their role is.”
The Tigers already faced off against other top teams like Ward-Melville, Riverhead and Middle Country and won each game. Rose credits her team’s success to the girls’ dedication to practicing. Many of them play throughout the year in camps, clinics and seasonal league teams.
“Everyone puts in a lot of effort off-season, which translates to the team becoming better in the regular season,” Rose said.
Rose, a physical education teacher at Northport, started the girls lacrosse program thirty years ago. This has given her an extensive understanding on how to train and prepare the girls. Although in previous seasons her teams were undefeated, Rose admits they ran into trouble with injuries mid-season. Now, during practice the team concentrates on stretching and recently began doing yoga together.
“We try to give them ample rest period, make sure we’re not running them too hard,” Rose said. “Last week, we had three games, so we won’t practice as hard, if we expect them to perform during games.”
The Tigers were fortunate enough to lose only a few players to graduation last year. Rose feels this is a major asset, since the senior class has stepped up as role models.
Midfielder and All-American athlete Olivia Carner is one of the leading scorers on the team and has committed to play at Duke University. Goalie Claire Morris is the “backbone” of the defense and committed to Ohio State. Defender Chloe Hoschel excels in her role and will play for Stony Brook University. Leader of the defense Danielle Pavinelli is an aggressive, “lock-down” defender, committed to University of Florida. She is the team’s draw specialist and leading scorer in Suffolk County, with over 80 points so far.
Carner, Morris, Hoschel, Isabella Hubbard, and Sophie Craco were chosen by their teammates as captains. Rose feels they are all goal-oriented players, willing to work for what they want.
“We have a lot of senior leadership,” Rose said. “Those kids have really taken the younger ones under their wing. They make everyone want to work hard, whether it’s captain’s practices or off-season training. They do everything they can to make themselves better. This group is all in.”
The Tigers head into their final two games this coming week against Lindenhurst on May 2 and Sachem East on May 8.