Pine-Richland girls lacrosse shoots for WPIAL 3-peat
By: Kevin Lohman
Thursday, May 9, 2019 | 8:05 PM
The Pine-Richland girls lacrosse team may be entering this year’s WPIAL Class 3A playoffs with a few more losses than in their last two championship-winning seasons, but they still loom large as a threat to win it all.
In coach Brittany Adams’ eyes, the losses only have made them stronger and more battle-tested before postseason play.
“I think what will prepare us for playoffs is that this season, we’ve been in pretty much every game scenario possible. We’ve been in overtime, we’ve come back from being down in a game, and unfortunately, we’ve been defeated, too,” Adams said.
“I think there’s no surprise left that we haven’t encountered, and those experiences where the girls had to face adversity are only going to strengthen them moving forward.”
One of the bigger challenges for the Rams (12-4, 9-2) has been replacing one of their top scorers, Meghan Luellen, who has missed time with injury. She hopes to return at some point, but until then, sophomores Haleigh Albrecht and Sophia Mellis and junior Gianna Lazzaro have answered the call.
Adams also credits her three senior captains, Lauren Juncal, Kendall Gessner and Abby Levier, with setting the right tone for the team regardless of obstacles.
The senior class has pulled its weight for the Rams, but so have the underclassmen, Adams said. Sophomore Mia Petzuk has been instrumental with her stellar midfield play. Additionally, junior Olivia Hanulak has displayed versatility and a team-first attitude in sacrificing personal statistics for victories.
“Olivia, she’s been a very diverse player for us. She plays attack but depending on who we have and the situation, sometimes we put her on defense,” Adams said.
“She’s been able to handle the challenge, and it’s definitely helped us pull through in some tough games.”
That attitude has been a common thread throughout the last few years, during which the Rams have propelled themselves to the forefront of the elite class of WPIAL girls lacrosse programs. That attitude is prevalent as ever, and it is another reason the Rams are champing at the bit for the playoffs to start.
“That’s something that the girls realized years ago, and it’s just continued to carry over with each class,” Adams said.
“Another constant for us has been capitalizing and focusing on a moment-to-moment basis during games. We keep our mind on what we control and exert our influence over those aspects as opposed to getting stuck on outside factors that don’t affect what we do. We have to continue doing that.”