Hampton girls lacrosse aims to play in June

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Friday, May 11, 2018 | 12:27 AM


A win over Mars was just the cherry on top to a solid regular season. But the Hampton girls lacrosse team wants the entire cake.

Coming off its first WPIAL championship, this year was always going to be a test of the resolve to repeat, rather than the learning experience.

“Last year, it was a season of firsts” coach Kelsey Viets said. “Every achievement we had to fight really hard for. This season we know how much work it takes, and the girls have the mindset that we want to play lacrosse through June. They know what to expect, and what's expected of us.”

The Talbots (14-2, 10-0) have rounded into form as a team structured on its depth. Last year, 50-goal scorers Caroline Larkin and Melinda Maers carried a good portion of the load. Larkin has graduated.

“We look for setting up on offense,” said senior captain Rachel Hirst, who committed to play at Mercyhurst next year. “We're looking for an open girl and running a play; it's not just get this one girl the ball. It's a big team effort. We definitely have a very strong attack.”

Perhaps the strongest addition to that attack has been junior forward Katie Cyphers, who scored four goals in the Mars contest to up her season-leading total to 50.

Viets praised Cyphers' patience.

“In the preseason, she put in a lot of work,” Viets said. “She told me in September she wanted to fight for a starting position. We've been working with her and she's doing outstanding.”

As the season draws to a close, the only goals left are a repeat WPIAL title and a deep state playoff run. Hampton was ousted in the first round of the PIAA playoffs last year.

This season, its two losses came to strong Class AAA opponents Mt. Lebanon (11-7) and reigning WPIAL champion Pine-Richland (10-9).

“I asked my (athletic director) to schedule the hardest triple-A matches we can get,” Viets said. “Playing those teams is just going to make us better. We hung with both those teams. Mt. Lebanon got away from us, Pine-Richland we only lost by one. I was extremely proud of that effort.”

The seniors, who have been with Viets since she was a middle school coach at Hampton, have the feeling they are a part of something special. As freshmen in 2015, they went 9-10 overall. The team lost one section game since that year, going 31-1, with that loss happening more than two years ago. Its overall record the past two years stands at 34-4.

“As a senior, it's sad to think I'm not going to have this next year,” senior captain Jocelyn Coholich said. “It is really special to me. I've been playing for eight seasons, and I've known Kelsey for seven of those years.”

But it's not time to reflect just yet.

“We have the depth, balance and confidence in each other we haven't had in other years with all 11 players on the field,” Viets said. “You can see the dynamic with the girls, how they celebrate every goal together, how they look for the assists.”

Devon Moore is a freelance writer.

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