WEST HARTFORD — With an experienced core returning, the Conard girls lacrosse team is looking to take its game to the next level in 2014.
About to begin her fifth season as coach of the Chieftains, Megan Cersosimo led the team to state tournament wins in 2011 and 2012. Conard was 7-10 last year] and had its season end in the qualifying round of the Class L state tournament at No. 16 Stamford (13-5).
Conard pens the season with road games at Rocky Hill on Thursday and Cheshire on Saturday. The Chieftains play their home opener on April 16 when they host West Hartford rival Northwest Catholic to begin a three-game home stand.
“Our team goals are to improve every day,” Cersosimo said. “We do not want to waste one second that we could be working hard and getting better. We want to be dominant in every practice and game we play in.”
Key returners for the Chieftains include seniors Grace Murray and Molly Vossler, who will be the focal points of the offense.
Murray scored 34 goals and added eight assists last season while also causing 25 turnovers. She earned First Team All-CCC horns as well and being named Second Team All-State. Vossler scored 29 goals and had five assists inn her way to being named First Team All-CCC.
Joining Murray and Vossler as key returners on offense are junior Tessa Sinatro and senior Molly Eanniello. Sinatro will play midfield and attack and comes off a 21-goal, four assist sophomore season. Eanniello will play attack and scored 17 goals last season.
The defense will be anchored by senior goalie Morgan Chase and junior midfield defender Brianna Grande. Chase made 121 saves last season and had a save percentage of 77 percent while Grande caused 20 turnovers.
A pair of games against West Hartford rival Hall and an out of conference test against Staples of Westport from the FCIAC will test the Chieftains and have them ready for the postseason.
Last seasons loss to Stamford is in the past but it is having an effect on the upcoming season as Cersosimo and her team want to be more of a factor when the postseason comes around.
“The ending to our season last year is what is driving me as a coach to better prepare our team for the season and post season,” Cersosimo said. “We have changed our approach to practices both mentally and physically. We needed to push harder and demand more out of ourselves. I do believe that it will take us to the next step.”