WILMINGTON — After a winless record last season, the Wilmington High Girls Lacrosse team was looking to improve this season, and start building towards the future under the direction of first year had coach Bill Manchester.
And while the improvement was moderate, the Wildcats certainly did make some steps in the right direction, going 2-14 on the season, and actually staying in contention for a state tournament berth until their final game of the season last Thursday against Triton, due to the Sullivan Rule.
The Wildcats came up short in their clash with Triton, dropping a 12-3 decision. With the loss, the Wildcats finished with a 2-4 record against Division 2 opponents, with their two wins coming against Arlington Catholic back on April 13 and Stoneham on May 17.
While the team's total of two wins was not exactly what Manchester was looking for in his first season with the team, he was pleased with his team's effort throughout the season.
"We faced a little adversity during the season with injuries and things like that, but the kids kept working," Manchester said. "It was not the record we wanted, but the effort was always there. They were great group of kids. They worked hard and were very loyal to each other. This was also a great learning experience for myself and for the other coaches."
While there was definitely improvement from last season, the Wildcats also improved very much just from the beginning of the season to the end. The improvement did not always show in win column, however, as the Wildcats were often doomed by the misfortune of playing a brutal schedule in the Middlesex League.
"We are in a league where some of these teams are just so talented that is was hard for us to hang with them," Manchester said. "But in other games, against teams more at our level we played well. Our problem was that we were a little inconsistent in those games. That is something we are going to have to work on."
A lot of the success the Wildcats were able to have this season was as a result of strong effort by their ten seniors, starting with the team's leading goal scorer, midfielder Cassidy Collins, who had 20 goals on the season, followed closely by fellow midfielder Molly Foley who had 19 goals, along with Alexa Williams and Natalie Gosselin, who had eight and five goals on the season, respectively.
These players along with fellow seniors, goalie Megan Santry, midfielders Ashlyn Finn, Meagan Pennie, and Emma Rhind, defenders Devin Lawrence and Gina Mastrorilli, and attack Jillian Cosman Cyrus all brought far more to the Wilmington Girls Lacrosse program than just wins and losses, according to Manchester.
“They didn’t win a game last year and it would have been very easy to give up this season, but they didn’t do that,” Manchester said. “They worked hard all the way through, and that is something to be proud of for the way they kept the program going. They will be sorely missed.”
While the seniors will definitely be missed, Manchester is looking forward to next season and the return of several promising underclassmen, including junior attack Shannon Barrett, who had 19 goals on the season, sophomore midfielder Ida Bishop who had 11 goals, and junior attacks Samantha Burke and Jessie McCullough, who had ten goals each.
“It’s a mixed bag, because the seniors are such great kids that you hate to see such good people leave the program,” Manchester said. “But on the other hand, we have a lot of talent coming up, not just at the high school but with the youth program as well. We have a lot of good people involved in lacrosse at the youth level and I think the future of the program looks bright.”