Lacrosse a family affair for coaching staffs at Franklin Regional

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Saturday, April 13, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Anna Stephens Lauer is in her first season as head coach of the Franklin Regional girls lacrosse team.

She doesn’t have to look too far for coaching advice.

Her brother, Luke Stephens, is the Franklin Regional boys lacrosse coach, while another brother, Ben, is a boys’ assistant and her dad, Bruce, is on her staff.

“I’ve asked for some advice, but the boys’ game is a lot difference,” Stephens Lauer said. “I’ve talked to Ben about shooting. It’s nice the when family is involved.”

She has guided the Franklin Regional girls to a 5-3 overall record and 3-2 mark in Section 1-2A. The Panthers have outscored their past four opponents — Greensburg Central Catholic, Greensburg Salem, Latrobe and Hampton — 63-10, and goalkeeper Katelyn Patts has two shutouts.

“We’ve talked about different stick drills and workout drills,” Luke Stephens said. “We bounce things off each other. I guess we have a stranglehold on coaching lacrosse at Franklin Regional.”

Luke is a 2013 Franklin Regional grad who played college lacrosse at Elizabethtown.

He is working with a young squad after the 2023 team graduated nine seniors.

On the girls’ side, Stephens Lauer is counting on senior midfielder Catey Helm, senior defenseman Kate Lowe, junior midfielder Ingrid Varley and Patts.

She also likes how sophomore twins Anna and Bella Ioannou and freshman Emerson Funari have adapted to the varsity style in the midfield.

“The younger players have stepped up the past few games,” Stephens Lauer said. “Our goalie is great and defense looks good.

“This year we’re learning how to play together as a new group. We’re developing skills and gaining confidence. The key is a lot of repetition, working on stick skills and understanding scenarios.”

Franklin Regional dropped two early section games to Plum and Indiana, two of the better teams in Section 1.

“They were learning experiences,” Stephens Lauer said. “It helped us learn faster during the season.

“Our goals are to win as many games as possible and create a good, well-balanced team. I want them to shape an attitude to be more competitive and thinking as an athlete.”

As a new coach, Stephens Lauer said that she has to break things down and be more clear and concise of what message she’s trying to teach.

“It’s been educational,” she said.

The FR boys are coming off a tough season in 2023.

“We were on the short end of a lot of close games,” Stephens said. “We had a competitive squad and we competed in every game. We just didn’t get the results we were hoping.”

But Stephens has high hopes for his squad, which is off to a 3-2 start, including a recent 16-4 win over Greensburg Central Catholic.

“From a record standpoint it was tough,” Stephens said. “From a competitive standpoint it was a nice.

“We’ve had close wins already this season this season. We had a nice win against Chartiers Valley where Matthew Kress had a hat trick.”

Other players Stephens is counting on include senior attacker Cole Vollero, senior midfielder Connor Lynch, senior defenseman Henry Seymour, senior goalkeeper Noah Rogers and senior midfielder Logan Klein.

Senior defensive captain Carson Reich sustained a season-ending injury in the second game of the season, but Stephens said he’s helping out a lot with instructing.

“He’s invested in the season,” Stephens said. “That means a lot. The injury bug has been following us around his season.”

Stephens said the goal for the team is to compete for a WPIAL championship.

“We have to continue to work hard and learn from our games,” Stephens said. “We have a good mindset and, if we continue to progress and minimize our errors, we’ll be a heck of a team by the playoffs.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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