Last season, North Branford finished the regular season with an impressive 13-3 record and advanced to the Class S quarterfinals.
Despite graduating some key players from last season, thanks to the combination of hard work, team bonding and an impact from some talented underclassmen, the Thunderbirds haven’t missed a beat in 2018 with a 6-1 start (not including Tuesday’s game).
“One of our strengths this year is our offense,” North Branford coach Lori Connelly said. “We always have seven players in the offensive end who can all put the ball in the back of the net.
“All of our offensive players contribute to the scoring. They have grown in the lacrosse IQ department, which has helped them create more scoring opportunities and move the ball at a faster rate.”
Another strength has been the team’s goalies.
“Our goalie is sophomore Carly Sorrentino and she has grown a lot as a goalkeeper over the past year,” Connelly said. “She is much more vocal in net and aggressive and has improved her ability to make saves in all locations. We also have a very good freshman goal keeper, Sofia Votto, who gives us the ability to have two viable options for any given game.”
Other top players include five seniors — attack players Adriana Ingarra, Emilie Wilkinson and Mackenzie MacGowan, midfielder Emmy Norton and defender Jazzy Coleman.
Junior Jessie Kilburn is the team’s draw specialist and junior Cayleen Defaranos is another top attack player. Sophomores contributing include Avonlea Lebeau, Ali Barrett, Melanie Norton and Bianca D’Onofrio.
“We made some changes in our style of play to grow to the next level, they have all adjusted well and are constantly working to improve,” Connelly said. “We are looking to carry this early momentum into the post season and would love a Shoreline Conference and state title.
“As strong as we are playing we know we need to keep improving and that we have not reached our full potential yet. I truly believe this team is special and could be the team to go all the way. But it doesn’t matter what I believe, it’s ultimately up to them. We have laid a nice foundation, now it’s time for them to go build up the walls before we can raise the roof.”