Junior and Senior Leadership Carries Girls Lax into New Season


Girls Lacrosse Senior Captains. (Photo/ Kaitlin Brown)

Meagan Sundstrom


Senior Captains Lena Ford, Bri Doherty, and Michele Lucas. (Photo/ Kaitlin Brown)
Girls Lacrosse Senior Captains. (Photo/ Kaitlin Brown)

With the loss of thirteen valuable seniors to graduation, the Walpole Girls Lacrosse team will face an uphill battle to have similar success in the Bay State Conference this season.  Last spring, the girls had an overall record of 12-7 and tied Wellesley for first place in the Herget Division.  In the first round of the State Tournament, the Rebels defeated Hingham but then lost to No. 1 Westwood 16-4 in the second round. This season, Walpole hopes to fill the shoes of their alumni and go even farther in the postseason.

This year’s Girls Lax team has multiple players with previous experience playing at the Varsity level.  Returning seniors include the current captains — Bri Doherty, Lena Ford, and Michele Lucas — along with Courtney Gorman, Erin LeBlanc, Katie LeBlanc, and Hannah McLaughlin.  Specifically, Bri Doherty, who has committed to play at Stonehill College next year, will be a major asset to the Walpole offense. Doherty’s height also gives the Rebels an advantage on the draw circle because the MIAA created a new rule that only allows two players from each team to be outside the circle during a draw.

The returning juniors are Molly Lanahan, Olivia O’Brien, Katie Smith, and Meagan Sundstrom, as well as some juniors that were called up for last year’s tournament team: Ania Egan, Lauren Hirshom, and Olivia Knight.  Due to their early exposure to the Varsity playing field and strong goal contributions last season, the juniors should create offensive success for the Rebels this year.

The small amount of returning starters will reside as a weakness for the team this season, but the chemistry between last year’s Varsity players will be an asset for the squad.  Lucas said, “We lost a lot of starters that were seniors last year, so our lack of experience is a weakness.  We have a lot of young and upcoming talented players that will gain playing opportunities due to the large amount of players who graduated.”  Most freshman players anticipate joining the girls lacrosse program, which will create a lot of preseason competition.

Lucas and Ford, along with Hirshom, will be valuable defenders for the team, as Holly Norberg — a starter who graduated last year — was a major part of the team’s defensive success last season.  Also on the defensive lineup for the Rebels is returning senior goalie Erin LeBlanc.  After her first season as a Varsity goalie last season, opponents averaged 9.1 goals per game against LeBlanc.  However, her experience, combined with her experience in the net for the State Champion Porkers, will give her an advantage in the net this year.

Although many vital players graduated last season, Girls Lacrosse will rely on young talent to create a successful season in the competitive MIAA Division I league this year.  Lucas said, “I hope we qualify for tournament and get a high enough seed that we do not have to face tough opponents such as Westwood and Notre Dame Academy of Hingham.”

Overall, the Walpole Girls Lacrosse team’s returning juniors and seniors must make up for a substantial loss of graduated players.  The Rebels open their 2014 season against Natick on April 3, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. at Walpole High School.