Young Pioneers sticking with it, showing net gains on lacrosse field

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Desitiny Wani
Trinity’s Destini Wani scoops up a loose ball while teammate Faith Ampuja (no. 9) backs her up.

MANCHESTER, NH – The final score wasn’t pretty.

But the 18-5 setback to visiting Campbell was far from indicative of the effort on the field from Trinity’s varsity girls lacrosse team Wednesday evening.

The second half, in particular, was a microcosm of this season’s young, gritty, never-say-die Pioneers squad.

“(The second half) was very much a different game,” said head coach Lauren Perry. “I think the biggest thing I can commend this team on is that they play the whole game, the whole 60 minutes. We’re pretty young, but their (positive) attitude is there the whole time and they don’t stop fighting, and those are the kinds of things you can’t coach, that really comes from the individual players, and we have a team full of them.”

Meghan Schmidt was able to sprint past a defender as she worked the ball down the field in the second half of Wednesday night’s loss to Campbell.

After notching one goal in the first half, freshman Arabella Mariano found the back of the net three more times, while senior captain Maeve Smith won a midfield draw and cut right through Campbell’s defense before firing the ball past the goalie for Trinity’s fifth tally.

It was Smith’s eight draw controls, in addition to Trinity’s season-high 25 ground balls – including eight by junior Carolyn Burleigh – that impressed Perry the most.

“It was a significant jump for us, and I really think we were able to capitalize on those opportunities, winning a lot of the draw controls and winning those ground balls, and then defensively making some big stops to try to swing that momentum,” she said. “I think we learned a lot and now have a lot we can work on in practice to start to take advantage of some additional opportunities, but for the start of the season, I’m happy with the foundation we’re building.”

Though the team features 10 freshmen, Perry said the on- and off-the-field influence of Smith and injured co-captain Courtney Ingham have helped set the tone for the young squad.

“Courtney, unfortunately, is hurt right now, but she keeps the sidelines upbeat and cheers her team on all the way through, so she pulls that side of it,” said Perry, “and then Maeve isn the field and has such a calming presence that I think the girls really gravitate toward. She keeps her composure and handles the ball so well on the field, and that’s something they work to do themselves … I give them both a lot of credit for leading a team that definitely has a lot of learning to do.”
Carolyn Burleigh
Multi-sport athlete Carolyn Burleigh has been a bright spot in the early going for the Pioneers this season.
The Pioneers have another tough matchup scheduled Monday, against undefeated Hopkinton, and then don’t play again until May 4, when they travel to Bishop Brady. That game kicks off a gauntlet stretch of six games in nine days – including three home contests against Saint Thomas Aquainas, Manchester Central and Belmont on May 6, 9 and 10, respectively. They then travel to Laconia on the 11th and complete the stretch back home against Milford on May 12.
“The way we look at it, everyone is going to be starting the season somewhere,” said Perry. “We’re all building our foundation at different levels, but we as a team can be working toward collective goals, and the girls have really taken that to heart and cheer each other on when they’re succeeding at things we know we’ve been working on, so that camaraderie is something that will continue to grow throughout the year and years ahead.”

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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.