Girls varsity lacrosse embraces challenge and teamwork for the 2022 season

Sports

After two spring seasons hindered by the pandemic, Head Coach Judy Bailey and the girls varsity lacrosse team have persevered through a rebuilding stage as they start the season with a 1-5 record. 

The team’s first competition was a friendly scrimmage at Rye Country Day School on Wednesday, March 30. The Wyverns fell short of a win with a score of 11-8, but the game provided the team with a key opportunity to assess their skills and plan ahead.

Following the scrimmage, the Wyverns began their 2022 campaign away against Greenwich Country Day School on Monday, April 4. With many players missing, the team lost 16-6 to the Tigers.

The final game in the team’s preliminary set of away matches was against Pomfret School on Saturday, April 6, where the Wyverns lost 15-3. Despite the score, the game displayed KO’s determination, hard work, and grit, regardless of the circumstances. “It was a rainy, cold, ugly day, but even after that game where we lost by 10 goals, the girls felt good about themselves and stayed positive,” Coach Bailey said. “What more can you ask for as a coach? We learn and we move on, and they are all open to that.”

Just two days later, the Wyverns faced Taft, the Founders League powerhouse away on Monday, April 11. “Taft is Class A, and they are probably the hardest team that we are going to play against this season,” senior midfielder Co-captain Abby McLaughlin said. 

KO lost to Taft 15-0, and this defeat highlighted opportunities for the Wyvern lacrosse team to grow and provided practice against top-tier opponents. “It gave our defense a lot more practice than we’ve ever had,” senior attacker and midfielder Co-captain Kaiya Deurloo commented. “There are girls on our team who just started playing or are newer to the sport that were literally marking Division 1 commits, so it definitely broadened our horizons.”

The team has been forced to reschedule and cancel two matches so far due to a lack of athletes able to play. “Our team is predominantly made of newer and younger players, and we have a small team in general,” Deurloo said. 

Coach Bailey shared that a large portion of the team is returning players with varsity experience, but the majority of the team are underclassmen. “We have talented players, we have a strong core, and we have people on board that we continue to build up and work with who are starting to step up and contribute,” Coach Bailey shared. “I think we have just been in situations where it’s been a little challenging.”

Although the Wyverns’ initial record has shown some defeats, the team is packed with talented players who will work to turn the tides this season. Coach Bailey noted the strong leadership of the seniors and captains, adding that junior goalie Chayse Shamleffer as a key defensive force for the team. “We have a strong attack who can get the ball in the net, and in the games we’ve played, our goalie is hands down the best goalie on the field,” Coach Bailey said. “Our defense is younger, but we have what we need, we just need to get that win under our belts to give us the confidence that we can compete.”

Sure enough, that win was right around the corner. On Saturday, April 16, the Wyverns defeated Cheshire Academy 11-5 in their first home game of the season. “We play a lot of our hardest teams in the beginning, so the beginning can be rough, but by the end we are winning more,” McLaughlin said.

Despite a rough start to the season, the girls varsity lacrosse team has remained positive and resilient. “Even with all of these hard knocks we’ve taken to start off the season, I still feel that everyone is on board, working hard, enjoying themselves, and enjoying each other,” Coach Bailey said. “Honestly that is just as important to me.”

Both Coach Bailey and the captains have similar goals for the 2022 season. “My goals would be for the team to have fun and improve throughout the season,” Deurloo said. “I just want to be able to see all of the girls that are just starting the sport or even are in their first year on the team improve throughout the season. Even if we don’t win, I feel that as long as everybody is having fun and becoming better players then it was worth it. That’s the only thing you can hope for.”

Coach Bailey echoed that sentiment. “Another goal is that the team really comes together and learns how to play well together as a team: to go out there and do our best every game,” she said. “That starts with what happens in practice, and as a coach I want the girls to walk away saying ‘We had fun, we played to the best of our abilities, we learned to work together as a team, and we’re always supportive and positive towards each other.’”

The team anticipates many exciting and competitive matches from their schedule. “I’m most looking forward to our games against Ethel Walker, Miss Porter’s, and Cheshire Academy, both because of the rivalry and because they are good competition,” McLaughlin said. Deurloo also said that she is excited for these games. “I think they will be games that are more in our range,” Deurloo agreed, “where we are not completely getting killed but also not having an easy win.”

For the rest of April, the team’s schedule is action-packed. In this last week, the Wyverns travel to Frederick Gunn School on Wednesday, April 27, and to Berkshire School on Saturday, April 30.

With lessons learned, perseverance proven, and a glorious win against Cheshire to turn the tides, the girls varsity lacrosse team has laid the groundwork for a memorable and successful 2022 season.