Memorial/West girls showing net gains on lacrosse pitch

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Sophomore Payton Moran is one of the young sparks helping to boost Memorial/West's current and future prospects on the lacrosse field.
Sophomore Payton Moran is one of the young sparks helping to boost Memorial/West’s current and future prospects on the lacrosse field.

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Led by a core group of 11 seniors, the Manchester Memorial/WestHigh School girls lacrosse team is building a foundation for future success.

The team, featuring 18 Memorial players and one player from West, may have two wins in 13 tries following a 9-5 Wednesday setback to visiting Coe-Brown Northwood, but longtime Memorial educator and JV football coach David Gocklin, in his second year as head coach of the girls lacrosse team, sees this seasons success in areas other than wins and losses.

“That’s one of the things about the girls. They don’t give up,” said Gocklin. “You know they know that if they quit, they lose, and this is a developing program. Yes, we’ve won two games and lost 11, but those two games are games that we haven’t won in the last six years, so we’re building a program.”

Sophomore Kaleigh Murphy scored for Memorial/West on Wednesday.
Sophomore Kaleigh Murphy scored for Memorial/West on Wednesday.

Between Memorial and West athletes, the program had enough athletes, 37, to field both a varsity and JV squad this season, something Memorial hasn’t been able to do in recent years, including last season when only 23 girls came to try out for the team.

Many of the girls, said Gocklin, worked out in the offseason and played indoor lacrosse over the winter.

“We’re trying to build a program and change the culture more than anything,” he said. “We’re getting there, but it’s a process, and these girls don’t give up, and I’m proud of the effort they give on a daily basis. They’re still enthusiastic, they still want to play despite the record.”

Leading that positive effort are seniors Ava Broussard and Caroline Makara who captain this year’s team.

Caroline plays defense and Ava goes between defense and middie, and they’ve done a nice job,” said Gocklin. “They’re both very positive athletes, so it’s good to have them, and I’m going to miss them, and I’m going to miss the rest of the 11 seniors as well.”

In addition Broussard and Makara, Emily Briand,  Christina Bui, Sarah DeVillers, Isabella Falite, Gillian Hunt, Lilly Lacasse, Isabella Mears, Sabina Ramic and Ella Senecal represent this year’s senior class.

“It’ll be sad to see the 11 seniors go, so it’ll be rebuilding for the next couple years,” said Gocklin, “but we’re building a foundation, and it’ll happen. We just have to stick with the program and maintain a positive attitude and create that climate.”

The Crusaders, who battled to the last whistle in Wednesday’s setback to Coe-Brown, have four more opportunities to improve on this year’s win total.

They are scheduled to travel to Hampton Friday to face 5-4 Winnacunnet, then have back-to-back away matches at 3-6 ConVal and 11-2 Hollis-Brookline on May 24 and 25, respectively, and then close out the season at home against 8-3 Hanover on May 27.

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Ryan O'Connor

As a longtime journalist in Southern New Hampshire, Ryan O'Connor has written for several local online and print publications covering everything from school board meetings and local high school sporting events to major crime stories and New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary (yes, the last two are mutually exclusive). In addition to spending time with his beautiful wife and four amazing children, Ryan enjoys attending and serving at church, golfing as much as possible, home brewing, playing softball and snowboarding when time allows.