Season full of highlights for Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse

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Sunday, June 20, 2021 | 11:01 AM


The Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse season began with the team having to reschedule a scrimmage because of a lack of players.

The Colts season ended with a heartbreaking one-goal loss to top-seed Blackhawk in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals.

In between, there were many high points for a growing program.

“I would say we surprised people,” Chartiers Valley coach Melissa Moran said. “It felt good to put our name on the map as a strong competitor. This team has so much talent that didn’t quite reach their full potential until this season. I believe having our season cancelled last year really motivated them to make every day count.”

The Colts galloped quickly out of the gates, winning their first five matches, including their section opener over a strong Quaker Valley program.

“I believe our win over Quaker Valley really helped the girls understand that we had something special,” Moran said. “That game was back and forth early on, and our girls’ legs were still adjusting to playing full games with minimal subs. During a timeout, senior defender Caley O’Connor chimed in and said, ‘In all my seasons so far, we have never beaten Quaker Valley. We are going to win this game.’ That fired up the girls and motivated them to do it for the seniors. After that game, the girls really came together as a unit and knew there was no reason they couldn’t find success in the upcoming contests.”

The victory over the Quakers was one of six section wins for the Colts. Chartiers Valley finished 6-3 and in fourth place in Section 2-AA, which featured WPIAL finalists Mars and Blackhawk.

“Mars and Blackhawk had great seasons. They were definitely our toughest competitors in our section,” Moran said. “They have history on their side and a very established foundation. Even though we fell to both teams, they were close games and I think both Mars and Blackhawk were surprised with the level of competition we showed up with. With both teams in the regular season, we found our spark too late in the game. Our Mars match we lost by three goals, but in the final minute and half, we scored three goals. Unfortunately, we had let them pull ahead just a bit too much and ran out of time.”

A lot of players stepped up this spring for Chartiers Valley, led by senior captain Grace Struna and junior captain Josie Jones.

“Grace Struna is an unbelievable athlete,” Moran said. “Grace is not the loudest as far as yelling goes, but she makes her presence loud and clear on the field. Grace is a leader by example. No matter if you’re at practice or a game, she gives you 100% at all times. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to finally coach her. She will be greatly missed.

“Josie Jones really stepped up for us. Josie has a way of making plays happen whether it involves her scoring or encouraging movement and getting someone open. She is small but mighty. All season she really took a beating on the field and always managed to tough it out and keep pushing. Josie is a vocal captain and does a nice job of motivating the team.”

Other standouts included junior Caleigh Bogats and sophomore Maddie Sams.

“Caleigh Bogats had an awesome season,” Moran said. “Caleigh played girls basketball for Chartiers Valley and had to join us a few weeks into the season and had limited time spent with us in the offseason. As soon as she rejoined us, it felt like our team was complete. Maddie Sams really did all that I asked of her this season. A midfielder in years past, Maddie stepped up at any position I needed her in this season. That goes for midfielder, attacker, defender, and she took the draw a few games this season. She is young but has really grown into a strong overall player.”

Beating Section 1 champion Hampton in the regular season was one of the highlights for the Colts, who finished with a 12-5 record.

Another Moran mentioned was the WPIAL first-round playoff win.

“Our playoff win over Oakland Catholic was very exciting,” she said. “For some of the girls, this was their first playoff game ever. For others, they had been to the first round and then fell short. Moving on to face Blackhawk was exciting for us. The way the game ended was heartbreaking to say the least. I knew in my heart we were capable of winning that game, and so did the girls. To see it slip through our fingers after leading by two was frustrating. Blackhawk is very good at drawing the 8-meter and has strong shooters. I think we had some missed opportunities that hurt us in the end. Although we fell short, the girls noted just how close we were and all that’s possible moving forward.”

Moran is excited about the future, with 13 incoming girls anticipated. She knows the ground work for success has been set.

“This season, the girls believed in themselves and each other and found what worked for them,” she said. “(It) was just the beginning of a new era for Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse.”

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