Quaker Valley girls lacrosse feels stakes of season’s potential
By: Shawn Annarelli
Friday, April 5, 2019 | 5:14 PM
Kristin Semones realized she had a problem early in her coaching tenure.
Quaker Valley’s girls lacrosse team was “the most talented” she ever had coached. With a deep roster of skilled players, she knew there would be difficult decisions every game about who started and who sat.
“This is the easiest and hardest team I’ve ever coached,” Semones said. “I’m finding it hard to set my starting lineup every game because I look at who I’m going to have on the bench, and I know they’re just as good as the players I have on the field.”
Quaker Valley’s wealth of talent drew Semones to the team, one that lost to Hampton last season in the WPIAL championship game. The Quakers and Talbots were tied in the final minutes, but Quaker Valley’s title hopes were dashed.
The Quakers don’t want to face the same fate twice.
“Everyone is really excited and focused about this season,” Quaker Valley senior Olivia Lehman said. “With last year’s WPIAL game being so close, it has lingered in our minds. Our goal is to get back, not let up, and we want to win.”
The Quakers have taken a more business-like approach than in previous years.
It’s not that last season’s team was carefree. This year’s team just feels the stakes are higher with most of the starters returning after being so close to taking home the title.
“I think we have a different kind of intensity,” Lehman said. “I think we’ve gotten closer on and off the field. I think we all push ourselves to be our best and try to focus on the little things. I think it’s just a little different, because we know where we could go.”
The roster is packed with nine seniors, and they carry themselves with maturity, according to Semones.
“I’ve seen them take ownership,” Semones said. “They act like adults. Seeing that in them allowed me to step back and realize that they’ve got this. They’ve got the will and desire. They already have a lot of talent, and their attitudes make me that much more proud of them.”
Quaker Valley will look to senior Katherine Blaugrund to lead the team’s offensive attack. Lehman plays like a “monster” on defense, according to Semones.
Blaugrund and Lehman have been the most vocal leaders on a team that started with a 2-1 nonconference record.
Quaker Valley’s third captain, senior Abby McClay, has led more subtly.
“Abby McClay is a really talented player, and she does some things we haven’t had before,” Lehman said. “She’s great at connecting with everyone and listening. She’s an outlet for everyone whether you just had your best game or your worst game.”
Given the Quakers’ championship hopes, there’s a burden on everyone’s shoulders that the team’s captains have tried to turn into a positive.
“We do feel a little bit more pressure, but I would say it’s a good type of pressure,” Lehman said. “We have high expectations for ourselves. We hold ourselves to a high standard, but having fun is a huge part of the sport, and we’re having fun within the game. We try to obtain that balance.”
Lehman also believes they’ll be able to walk that tight rope regardless of who is in the game.
”No matter who is on that field, we’ll have talent,” Lehman said. “Whoever Coach Kristin puts on the field deserves that time. We do have that chemistry where it won’t matter because everyone knows they are going to play … I think that focus will only help drive us.”
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