Quaker Valley, Sewickley Academy girls lacrosse players pick up postseason awards

Sunday, June 25, 2023 | 10:45 AM

Several area girls lacrosse athletes have been honored with postseason plaudits.

Quaker Valley’s Shannon Von Kaenel, a senior midfielder, and Lucy Roig, a freshman midfielder, were recognized as All-WPIAL players in Class 2A.

“I am very honored. It is nice to be recognized for all of the hard work I put in this season,” Von Kaenel said. “And I am so proud of my team. We haven’t made it to the state playoffs since 2018, and I could not pick a better team to play with, especially my senior year.

“Our chemistry was fantastic, especially with so many freshmen starting. We really clicked.”

QV coach Laura Peery described Von Kaenel as an impact player.

“Shannon makes a big difference in the outcomes of games,” Peery said. “She is incredibly strong, deceptively quick, with the heart and determination to fight through anything. She is a brick wall on defense, always hungry for the ball, constantly fighting to get the ball back.

“She was instrumental on the draw, able to win it to herself with a big one-handed catch over the opponents, which gave us a huge advantage to start with possession. She also made it count with her power shot.”

Von Kaenel also played soccer and basketball at QV. She manned the midfield area in lacrosse and also took draws.

“I’m excited for next year’s team,” she said. “Although I won’t be playing, I will be cheering them on.

“Losing nine seniors will make an impact (in 2024), but we have a lot of skilled girls, and they will fill those gaps. I’m excited to see how well the team will be next year.”

Roig also was honored to be selected All-WPIAL and grateful that her diligence was recognized.

“It was a great season for us because we made it all the way to states,” Roig said. “We worked very hard and it paid off. We might take a little time to adjust (next season) due to the loss of our seniors, who had a major impact on our success. But in the end, we will be a powerful team. I hope everyone comes in ready to work.”

Peery said QV’s freshman sensation was an integral part of the team’s offense in 2023.

“Lucy really understands the game and is able to read what the other team is doing in order to force turnovers and gain possession,” Peery said. “Her strength is her ability to cut and get open in tight places.

“She was a big contributor this season, scoring in every game. Most of her goals were assisted. She does a great job of making quick cuts with her eyes up, reading the goalie and (getting) the open spots at the goal. She opened the scoring in many big games, giving her teammates the confidence to play their game.”

QV’s senior team members in 2023 were attackers Isabella Murano, Tia Pethel and Emma Smith, midfielders Kyra Gabriele and Von Kaenel, defenders Grace (Lizzie) Evans, Maria Helkowski and Hannah Lubert and goalkeeper Abbey Rose.

“I’d like to congratulate our seniors for a great year and all my teammates for the work they put in,” Roig said. “And I’d like to thank our coaches and alum Kayla Foster for all she has taught me and for the time she has put in to making me the player I am today. I couldn’t have done it without her.”

Several local girls were lauded as 2023 all-section selections, including five from Quaker Valley in Section 2-2A.

Von Kaenel and Roig were named to the first team, Gabriele and sophomore goalkeeper Emily Reiner were chosen to the second team, and freshman M/D Meredith Fallgren was an honorable mention selection.

Both Gabriele and Von Kaenel scored their 100th career goal this season.

Gabriele attained her career milestone April 25 in a 9-8 loss to Mars.

Von Kaenel netted her the 100th goal May 4 in a 6-5 win against North Allegheny.

Reiner also played hockey this year in the PIHL girls division, skating at a forward position for the West team.

QV’s girls lacrosse squad earned a WPIAL playoff berth by winning eight of its first nine games. After starting 1-1, QV racked up seven straight victories — hitting double digits seven times — and finished with a 15-6 overall record.

The Quakers placed third in the WPIAL and advanced to the first round of the state tournament, where they lost to PIAA finalist Twin Valley.

“I am extremely proud of the team’s performance this season,” Peery said. “This was a very cohesive group that worked very well together and really enjoyed the journey.

“Having so many senior leaders, I think, really made a difference. Their experience, enthusiasm and determination made a huge impact on their teammates.”

And next year?

“I’m hopeful to continue building on our success,” the QV coach said. “We have amazing youth coaches that have really been working hard to develop some of our talented underclassmen that I am confident will be ready to step up in the next few years.”

SA’s Eannarino, Close honored

Sewickley Academy junior midfielders Libby Eannarino and Ashley Close were chosen as lacrosse all-stars in Section 1-3A. Eannarino was voted onto the first team while Close was a second-team selection.

A three-sport athlete in her first year at Sewickley Academy, Eannarino accounted for her 100th career goal April 13 against Peters Township.

“I’m so proud scoring my 100th goal while wearing a Sewickley jersey and representing the academy,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, coaches and the athletic support staff.”

Eannarino enrolled at SA at the start of the 2022-23 school year, transferring from Upper St. Clair.

She participated in soccer in the fall and basketball in the winter. This was her first season playing lacrosse for the Panthers.

“Libby has a very high lacrosse IQ,” said Ali Grenert, SA’s girls lacrosse coach. “She is extremely hard working and always looking to improve.

“Libby is a team player and leads by example. When she puts her mind to something, there is no stopping her.”

Eannarino was the leading scorer with a 17.5 points per game average as a starting guard on the SA girls basketball team. She clicked for eight goals to finish as the second-leading scorer behind sophomore Katherine Varghese on the girls soccer team.

Eannarino participated in field hockey in her first two years of high school.

Close, meanwhile, said she wasn’t expecting to land any postseason accolades.

“I was actually really surprised that I got it this year,” she said, “but so grateful for it. And I was so surprised by how good we did this year. I think with the combination of our new players and our amazing coach, we were able to make huge strides.

“Although next year we will lose a lot of seniors, I believe we have a great chance for making it far in the playoffs. We will be getting Libby’s younger sister on the team along with many other very good athletes. I also love our coach and have confidence that she will continue to (develop) our team.”

Close competes for the Sewickley girls tennis team in the fall as the No. 1 singles player. She ended last season Nov. 5 in Hershey as the Class 2A state runner-up.

“I thought I played pretty well during the PIAA tournament but was really pushed to play the best I could because of the great competition,” Close said. “I usually take a break from tennis during my lacrosse season, but I play tennis usually three days a week in any other season.”

The right-handed hitting Close also was the WPIAL 2A runner-up after winning the title in 2021. She was unable to participate in the WPIAL finals as a freshman because of an injury.

Sewickley Academy ended its girls lacrosse season with a 12-9 loss to North Hills in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.

Senior team members in 2023 were attack/midfielder Mary Grace Gordon and Elena Mohan, midfielder Sally Moravitz, defenders Isabella Capito, Alex Cordle and Rinnie Jardini and goalkeeper Kaitlyn Hayden.

Sewickley has won six section championships in girls lacrosse in school history and has been MSLA champion four times.

The Panthers clinched a playoff berth this year by finishing with a 4-4 record in their section.

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