Shaler girls lacrosse team looking to develop chemistry on the fly

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Sunday, April 4, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Missing a season due to the pandemic hurt the Shaler girls lacrosse program in a number of ways.

Seniors didn’t have the opportunity to close their careers, and those who return for this year’s team missed out on time to develop.

Titans coach Ali Nicholas believes that development this season will have to happen on the fly. Shaler has had ups and downs thus far, losing 16-12 to Seneca Valley and scoring a 22-2 win over Greensburg Salem.

“I was just looking forward to them playing,” Nicholas said. “The girls didn’t get a season last year, and it slowed down our development a little bit. At least we had time to work out throughout the summer, fall and preseason to gather ourselves.”

Pulling together will require the Titans to develop chemistry quickly. Shaler only has one senior on this year’s team and will have eight sophomores and three freshmen.

Alyssa Juzwick, who was one of Shaler’s captains as a sophomore, is the team’s only senior.

The Titans plan to be built around having a strong offensive output this season. Nicholas said the team is still working on perfecting its positioning.

“Right now, I would say our attack,” Nicholas said while discussing the team’s greatest strength. “Our attack is stronger. Our transition is going to be key. Our ball movement in general will be important.”

Becoming a team that moves the ball well and can be creative in the attack will need to come through having played more games.

”I think being aware, having awareness on the field, that comes with growth,” Nicholas said. “The more we play, the more we develop in that area.”

Shaler will need to be sharp to compete in the 11-team Section 2-AAA. The Titans are in with defending WPIAL champion Shady Side Academy along with traditional rivals Butler, Fox Chapel, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland and Seneca Valley. Freeport, Moon and Sewickley Academy are also in the section.

The Titans expect to be among the contenders.

“I think making the playoffs is doable for us this year,” Nicholas said. “Our goal is to go for the championship, and I don’t think that is out of reach for us if we get out to a good start early.”

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