The bumpy yet happy road to growth for girls lacrosse


Photo courtesy of Ella Carnathan

Ella Carnathan, a freshman on the WCHS Girls Varsity Lacrosse team, receives the ball and pivots to carry it up field toward the goal.

By Lily Chadwick

Buzzer beater goals in overtime, risky passes and fast breakways. This year has been an eventful roller coaster for the WCHS varsity girls’ lacrosse team. Between getting a brand new coach and losing many seniors from last year, this has been a season of change. 

Just a few weeks before the season started, the WCHS lacrosse program was still in the midst of a desperate search to hire a coach for the team. Shortly before the season started, Monica Tarzy was brought onto the team as head coach. Tarzy is not new to the WCHS athletics community as she also coaches the girls’ junior varsity soccer team. However, this was her first time coaching lacrosse, so she had to quickly adapt to the new role.

“Having a new coach affected the team because not only was the coach new to the team, she was new to the sport,” WCHS freshman defender Ella Carnathan said. “While trying to guide the team throughout the season, the coach was also trying to guide herself as she learned more rules to the sport and different details on how to play.”

The team lost the season’s first four games as they were enduring some growing pains. A losing streak often makes teams unmotivated, but it did the opposite for this group of athletes. They did not accept defeat and decided to tackle their problems head-on and create a strong foundation for the team.

“The team stayed optimistic even after our first losses by saying inspirational messages and hyping teammates up,” Carnathan said. “We looked towards the future instead of dwelling on the past. We knew we had things to work on to have a more successful season, so that’s what we did during practice.”

The athletes figured out what specific strategies worked best for them on their journey to improve the team. Identifying problems before they grew was essential in fixing errors before stepping out on the field. A big goal of the team was not to repeat previous mistakes or patterns and stay sharp every game to eliminate silly errors.

“I feel like as the season progressed, we gained a lot more trust for each other and were able to rely on each other on and off the field,” WCHS sophomore defender Kailyn Sun said. “I think a great thing about our team was that we always stayed positive no matter the outcome of our games. Our mindset was a big part of our game, and just never giving up really helped us to come back stronger each game.”

What happens on the field is only part of what makes a dynamic and effective team. Captain, coach, and parent-led bonding activities were essential in bringing the group closer together. Shifting from being just teammates to being true friends helped the players trust each other and feel more comfortable critiquing as well as learning from each other.

“The environment became more comfortable as the season went on through team bonding,” Carnathan said. “The bonding we did off the field helped us play better on the field. For example, we had team dinners and breakfasts.”

With a new coach and many seniors having graduated last year, the upperclassmen were an essential support system for the team. Even in the off-season, they ensured that new and returning players were staying sharp and preparing for the season. Next year’s upperclassmen will have big shoes to fill.

“The upperclassmen were very passionate and very motivating for our team and always helped bring out the best in each of us,” Sun said. “I think we, [the upperclassmen for next season, will] be able to provide a great support system for the new team members next year and with the leadership skills we all have, I’m confident our team will continue to strive.”

Just because the season is over does not mean that these players are done putting in the work. The off-season is an essential part of building the strongest team possible. The players plan to do stick skills workouts to stay sharp and improve their play for next spring.

“During the off-season, I think it is very important to keep focusing on lacrosse and stay just as dedicated to the sport as we were during the season,” Sun said. “It’s necessary for players to continue our stick skills by doing wall ball or staying in shape by working out.”

The girls’ season ended following their loss to the Wootton Patriots on May 10. The team finished the season with a record of five-eight. It is easy to focus on records and stats, but one of the most significant achievements of the team this season was building and growing their team community as well as establishing a robust principle of persistence. 

“A quote given to us from our coach was ‘fino alla fine,’ which is Italian for ‘until the end’,” Carnthan said. “Those words accurately describe our season because every game and practice we worked hard and did our best until the very end and didn’t give up.”