As we saw even in just the past 24 hours, with some rain and some sun, cold temperatures and warm, predicting the weather in New England during the spring can be tough. But over the past several seasons, one spring prediction that is almost a given is that ’s girls lacrosse team will be atop the Bay State Conference.
That is once again the case as we approach the halfway point of the 2011 season, as the Raiders hold a 7-1-1 record (6-0 BSC), and are steamrolling some of the local competition having just come off of a 15-1 win over the Weymouth Wildcats on Tuesday.
The Raiders have also come up with big performances against some of the state’s tougher competition, including a 9-5 win over the reigning Division 1 champion Framingham Flyers, and a 12-12 tie against the Norwell Clippers who have captured the Division 2 crown each of the past two seasons.
About the only thing that may surprise some fans about Wellesley’s record is the “1” in the loss column, especially considering that the Westwood Wolverines aren’t on the team’s regular season schedule.
This past Saturday, the Raiders dropped a regular season contest against the Lincoln-Sudbury Warriors (10-1, 8-0 Dual County League), and while the loss will make an impact on Wellesley’s seeding in the state tournament, coach Chris Molonea feels there are a lot of positives to take from that game.
“Some people might be surprised, but I thought the L-S game, even though it was a loss for us, was a terrific game for us,” said Molonea. “That game reminded me so much of the Westwood game in the south sectional finals last year, with the speed, the skill and the intensity. That game helped us so much I think.”
Captains Abby Bunting and Blake Dietrick have been among the Raiders’ leading scorers throughout their careers, so it should be no surprise that making the transition from heralded underclassman to the team’s leaders on and off the field has been smooth to say the least.
“Not really, [this year I have] gotten everyone else involved more, and take that as my responsibility,” Dietrick said regarding a change to her approach on the season. “I just try to lead more by example on the field, and by how I talk to my teammates and try to push everyone else in practice.”
“I think we just have more say this year,” added Bunting. “I think both of us have wanted to win so bad these past four years, and I don’t think that has changed at all.”
Perhaps what has been most impressive about Wellesley’s run over the past four or five seasons has that the team has performed consistently despite the number of players that have come and gone over that time.
While the Raiders’ roster is stacked with juniors and seniors, a few underclassman are proving to be factors on the field as well. Turning in an impressive performance against Weymouth on Tuesday was freshman Ashton Chryssicas, with a tenacity to get after the ball on both ends of the field, and a couple of tallies in the scoring column early in the first half.
“One thing about Ashton is she plays hard 100 percent of the time, in practice, in a game it doesn’t matter. She’s very hungry to learn,” said Molonea of the freshman. “Every game, she’s intense, she’s asking good questions, and she works hard. She will be a contributor.”
Sophomores Emma Hitch and Anne Valle are also frequently finding the back of the net, and could help fill the void in scoring that will surely be left after Bunting and Dietrick graduate.
Among the games remaining on Wellesley’s schedule over the final two weeks of the regular season, is a rematch with Lincoln-Sudbury at Sprague Field. The pair of games between the Raiders and Warriors this season will be an excellent measuring stick as to what to expect from Wellesley in the post-season.