New coach Hodowanec hopes to continue success with Pine-Richland girls lacrosse

Sunday, April 10, 2022 | 8:01 AM

Alex Hodowanec was close to applying as an assistant for the Pine-Richland girls lacrosse team last season but ended up taking a job coaching club volleyball.

A year later, she did apply with the Rams, but this time it was for the head coaching job.

Hodowanec, a former standout lacrosse player at Franklin Regional, took over for Brittany Adams, who stepped down after last season.

It’s her first high school head coaching job, and she is excited to take over a program that has been one of the best in WPIAL Class 3A in recent years.

The Rams won titles in 2017 and ’18 and made the quarterfinals last year.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be here,” Hodowanec said. “Brittany built an amazing program. The culture for lacrosse at Pine-Richland is absolutely incredible.

“For me it comes down to continuing to grow the sport, not only at the varsity and junior varsity levels, but reaching out to do our part to help the youth in middle school program. My goal is to continue to grow this sport in this area.”

The Rams were 1-1 through April 6 with a win over Sewickley Academy and a loss to defending champion Shady Side Academy.

Hodowanec played for two years in college at Walsh before a shoulder injury ended her career. She coached for a couple of travel lacrosse teams and was an assistant at Plum.

She’s working with an experienced team that has four captains: seniors Zoe Katres and Erica Hudock and juniors Mary Dziubek and Hannah Young.

Katres is the goalie, Hudock is an attacker, Young plays attack and midfield and Dziubek is a midfielder and defender.

“All four of them are extremely talented players,” Hodowanec said. “We have a ton of talent on this team across the board in every position.”

While there’s some experienced returning starters throughout the lineup, there’s also some freshmen like Kendyll Jerry, Georgia Rottinghaus and Erica Waite making an impact in the midfield and on defense.

Caroline Gentile, who’s committed to Lafayette, and Lily Hynds are part of the junior class with Dzibuek and Young that have varsity experience.

“We’ll have opportunities for a lot of different girls to make contributions to this team,” Hodowanec said. “The work these girls put in does not go unnoticed to our coaching staff.”

The Rams are in Section 2-3A with Butler, Fox Chapel, Freeport, Moon, North Allegheny, North Hills, Seneca Valley, Sewickley Academy, Shady Side Academy and Shaler.

Hodowanec is looking forward to seeing how the Rams progress throughout the year, while battling to finish near the top of the section.

“I’m hoping for us to make a big impact on this conference this year,” Hodowanec said. “As a first-year coach I think it’s important to do that. I want to do right by the program that Brittany has built.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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