Young Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse team hoping to contend for postseason berth
By: Nathan Smith
Thursday, April 11, 2019 | 10:17 PM
The Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse team is experiencing a youth movement.
The Colts have turned to several underclassmen to fill key roles on the field. Chartiers Valley coach Jordan Burkes is happy with their play so far and only expects the team to improve.
“We are definitely giving younger players a lot of responsibility,” said Burkes, who is in her second year leading the team. “We think it is going to help in the long run.”
The Colts started the season 1-3.
The team has turned to its younger players because of low numbers. The team has only 16 players on the roster. While numbers are thin this season, the future looks bright for the Colts.
“We would definitely like to have a few more girls,” Burkes said. “But I am happy with the roster I have. With how well and how much time our youth program puts in, things are going to keep improving.
“I know our middle school team is doing an excellent job with numbers.”
The team only has four seniors this season — Bailey Donofrio, Ashton Franks, Sara Katonka and Jada Khalil.
“They are great leaders,” Burkes said. “I can take their leadership roles and let them run some of the things. They put in the extra effort to make sure everyone is where they need to be.”
Donofrio and Franks got international experience during the offseason. They were part of a team that captured a bronze medal at the 2019 Netherlands Cup in Amsterdam.
Donofrio has stepped up as a leader for the Colts on the attack. Sophomore Grace Struna is another offensive catalyst for Chartiers Valley.
“(Struna) started for us last year,” Burkes said. “She was a little timid and out of her comfort zone. But this year she is kind of taking on a leadership role. A lot of the freshmen look up to her.”
Sophomore Allison Moses has switched between midfield and attack. Freshman Rachel Behanna is a new face that has emerged at the midfielder position.
Abby Betts has taken over in front of the goal. The freshman brings several intangibles to the position despite her inexperience.
“She is somewhat new to the goalie position,” Burkes said. “But she is fighting and puts in work every day with extra drills. She can be a little nervous but is coming around. She is a freshman, so she has plenty of time to grow.”
The team is receiving a boost on defense from Franks and sophomore Leah Hawthorne.
While the team is still young, Burkes thinks it has the ability to compete right now. She doesn’t think reaching the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs is out of the questions.
“Although we are young, we are learning every day,” Burkes said. “I tell them all the time that I don’t care about the score as long as they give 100 percent effort.
“They’re buying into the program. If they put the work in, we could challenge for a playoff spot.”
Tags: Chartiers Valley