Hampton girls lacrosse plans to spread scoring wealth

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Saturday, March 30, 2024 | 11:01 AM


The Hampton girls lacrosse team this season is relying on balance rather than brilliance.

After a three-year stretch that featured two of the most prolific goal-scorers in program history, the Talbots are looking for a well-distributed, roster-wide attack.

“Not relying on one person to score is going to be an asset this season,” coach Kelsey Burke said. “We can’t afford to have a single goal-scorer that potentially gets locked down by a really tenured defense.”

In the past three years, the Talbots have graduated all-WPIAL midfielder Emi DiLiberto, who scored 83 goals last season and 74 in 2022, and All-American midfielder Megan Cook, who netted a program-record 85 goals as a senior in ‘21.

Burke said her team, which returns 10 starters, needs to be more prepared to deal with defenses that focus on taking away the Talbots’ star scorers.

DiLiberto was limited to one goal on one shot in a 10-7 loss to Chartiers Valley in the ‘23 WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals, as the Talbots (13-6) were dealt their earliest playoff exit since 2015.

“I think we are going to see 30-goal scorers across three to four players,” Burke said. “Frankly, as a head coach, I love to see that. That tells me that we have consistency throughout our attack and we’re not just relying on plays designed around a single person.”

The Talbots’ leading returning scorer is second-team all-Section 1-2A senior midfielder Sienna Rex (38 goals). Other players with double-digit goals include senior attack Lindsay Fiscus (11g) and junior midfielder Lizzy Saponsky (11g).

“I think we are looking good,” Fiscus said. “We are starting to work better as a team together. I expect us to do well.”

The Talbots rebounded from a 16-2 loss to WPIAL Class 3A power Mt. Lebanon in the season opener to rout Latrobe, 12-1, on March 20 behind six different goal scorers.

“I feel the most important thing for us is to have as many people as possible impacting the scoring,” junior defender Olivia Graswick said.

Hampton is hoping to regain its section title after falling short against Plum last season, snapping a five-year run. The Talbots entered this season with a 65-2 record in their past 67 section games dating to 2016. Hampton plays at Plum on April 16.

“We want it,” said junior midfielder Lillian Ketler, a first-year starter. “We’re going to work as hard as we can and do everything we can.”

Other returning starters include junior attack Emerson Pryal, junior midfielder Ava Galuska and the Talbots’ entire defensive back of Graswick and seniors Elena Herchenroether, Greta Hamlin and Addie Hastings.

“My favorite thing about this team,” Herchenroether said, “is our ability to work together and have fun on and off the field.”

The Talbots have welcomed back all-section sophomore goalie Taylor Whitman, who benefited from a busy offseason. Whitman missed the first part of the season with an injury but was expected to return in late March. Senior Jacqui Deah got a handful of starts in Whitman’s absence.

While the Talbots seek a more balanced attack this season, they already are getting big numbers from a ninth-grader. Center midfielder Dillon Perry, the only freshman on the roster, had scored a team-high five goals through two games, including four at Latrobe.

“We’re really excited,” Burke said. “She has already gotten significant playing time and obviously has done great in terms of contributions to the varsity roster. We are very excited by her play.”

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