Girls' lacrosse team stood their ground, competed with determination

DV head coach Bernadine Salak: 'We are graduating nine amazing seniors but confident our young players will continue to grow'

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  • The Delaware Valley girls lacrosse team (Photo provided)

“I am optimistic with a large freshman class this year working hard to improve and being mentored by our outstanding juniors and seniors."
Head coach Bernadine Salak

By Josh Lashley

— With a really tough schedule, it was pretty much a given that the Delaware Valley High School girls' lacrosse program was going to run into some obstacles on the field this spring. What's important is how the team responded to those challenges.

The Warriors stood their ground and competed with determination — ultimately finishing the season with a winning record of 13-8. And they were an impressive 10-1 in PIAA District 2 AAA.

Delaware Valley captured the PIAA District 2 AAA Championship. To be sure, there were some great memories built for the Warriors this past season.

“At Danville on April 7, we fought back from a 8-4 halftime deficit, kept them scoreless in the second half, kept hustling and kept scoring,” said Delaware Valley head coach Bernadine Salak. “We ended up with the game tying goal with 12.9 seconds left and then scored in the first 26 seconds of overtime to capture the win. We had never defeated a District 4 team before and Danville was having a tremendous season.

“Great game against a previously unbeaten Lake-Lehman team (10-9 win at home on May 9). It forced a three-way tie for first place in the Wyoming Valley Conference between Lake-Lehman, Wyoming Seminary and Delaware Valley. Seven different players scored in a balanced attack. We eventually lost to them in the League playoffs, but it was a great night of lacrosse and our team battled the entire game.”

Helping propel the Warriors to significant heights this year were the leaders on the roster.

“Eileen Nikles, senior three-year letter winner was a quiet leader,” Salak said. “She demonstrated strong team skills and is a gifted defender. Quiet fury as a defender and had an amazing knack for getting to the ball and starting the offensive attack-56 ground balls, four interceptions, 27 forced turnovers, Team Warrior Award Winner. Kirsten Dunn, senior, four-year letter winner, captain played everywhere on the field except goalie-did whatever we needed to ensure success. She was a key to building and maintaining a family atmosphere among her teammates-22 goals and two assists, 49 groundballs, three interceptions, 12 forced turnovers, 20 draw controls, Team Warrior Award Winner.

“Emily Covert senior, four-year letter winner, two-year captain was anchor and defensive leader. She finished the season with one goal, one assist, 35 ground balls, five interceptions, 20 forced turnovers and plans to attend Arcadia University and play lacrosse, Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Mia VanWie sophomore, strong defensive player who moved to midfield after injuries hit our line-up, stepped up big time and was a dominant defensive midfielder. She ended season with 14 goals, 11 assists, team high 56 ground balls, two interceptions, 22 forced turnovers and 25 draw controls. A dynamic player who is the vocal leader of our squad, did everything on the field to ensure team success-Team MVP.”

A number of student-athletes made noticeable progression as lacrosse players throughout the season.

“Virginia Yost (sophomore) emerged in the middle of the season as a confident defender and improved throughout the season, earning a starting spot at the midway point,” Salak said. “Freshmen Madison Fedun (three goals, four assists), Isabella Fasulo (two goals, two assists) and Miranda Murray (three goals, two assists) all grew as players and saw a lot of playing time in the latter half of the season. Junior Victoria Blaut (one goal, two assists) and senior Julia Steele (seven goals) really stepped up on the attack end of the field as our season progressed and provided us with much needed ball control after some injuries.

“Senior Faith Fucetola (14 goals, two assists) had a great season and really emerged as a true offensive threat. She moved up from midfield and provided us with much needed speed and stick skills at the attack position. Senior Morgan Gifford was a strong defender for us but this year she really began to exert a more physical game that often forced opponents to make mistakes. She finishes with a team high 38 forced turnovers, six interceptions and 54 ground balls — Co-Defensive Player of the Year.”

The graduating class of 2018 will surely missed. But Delaware Valley is still very much looking toward the future.

“We are graduating nine seniors that were amazing contributors to our program,” Salak said. “I am optimistic with a large freshman class this year working hard to improve and being mentored by our outstanding juniors and seniors. We will be returning only five starters but I am confident that our young players will be able to continue to grow and develop their lacrosse skills in the off season and be ready to step up next year.

“Junior Lauren Matarazzo had a breakout season on attack with 29 goals and 17 assists, 20 ground balls, five forced turnovers and a 54 percent shooting accuracy. We are going to look to her and sophomore Skyler Padgett (40 goals, two assists, 46 ground balls, seven interceptions and seven forced turnovers; Offensive Player of the Year) to anchor our offense next year and to Virginia Yost to slide in as a defensive leader with Mia VanWie.”

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