FAIRFIELD >> For the first time in program history, the Notre Dame of Fairfield girls’ lacrosse team will play in the postseason.
On Friday afternoon the Lancers defeated Capital Prep 19-1 to improve to 6-9-1 and qualify for the Class S State Tournament; a first in school history.
“It’s been hard, it’s been confusing, but it’s been awesome,” first year head coach Jennifer Schell said of the transition of the program. “It all has been kind of overwhelming.”
Schell, who was an assistant with the program the last four years, and is an assistant with the ice hockey team, took over the program from Kerri Rowland this spring. She said Rowland left big shoes to fill as the team has seen vast improvements the last few years.
Schell said this year’s success wasn’t a surprise as they could see it taking shape.
“Last year we were 3-13 and every year it’s been an improvement whether it’s been goals, assists or record,” Schell said.
This group, as Schell described as energetic and fun, has found success due to unselfish play. Schell said her four seniors on the field have provided a solid leadership foundation and the younger players have risen to the occasion.
“We have a goaltender, Emma Sweeney, she’s been a huge part of our success and she’s only a freshman. Sophomore Sam LaValle, she has over 50 percent of our goals,” Schell said. “At center taking draws, Katie Ciufo, she’s been huge. And our two senior captains (Sara Keden, Morgan Sweeney) and senior Tekarah Coward …she always brings the energy.”
Schell said making the state tournament wasn’t the squad’s first goal, but so far this season the Lancers have been able to accomplish all they have set out to do.
“Our first goal was to have more wins than last year,” Schell explained. “Our third goal was to makes states and our second goal was to have fewer goals against us.”
But now that the team has qualified for postseason play, they have new goals to set and check off.
“First is to make it through round one,” Schell said with a smile. “And to give it everything, not give up.”