The vibe around Cathedral High School girls lacrosse is positive. Very positive.
That was true throughout the 2022 season, and Irish Girls Lacrosse Head Coach Mary Ann White said it was true however the Irish fared in the postseason.
“We’re competing at the highest level and I’m proud of that,” White said in mid-May as Irish girls lacrosse moved from a strong regular season to the postseason.
The Irish, after qualifying for the Indiana Girls Lacrosse Association state final four in 2021, played a tough schedule featuring out-of-state and local powers in 2022. The perennially strong Irish had a 9-5 regular-season record with losses to Springboro (Ohio) High School and Louisville (Ky.) Eastern High School – and three competitive losses to local powers Guerin Catholic, Carmel and Bishop Chatard.
The Irish beat Brebeuf 9-4 in the first round of the postseason before a season-ending 11-10 loss to Chatard in the Class 2A, Section 3 title game on May 24.
“This is a hard-working team with a strong group of seniors and I’m proud of this team,” White said. “You want to play tough teams so you’re ready when the going gets tough. You don’t want to just play the hardest teams at the very end.
“That’s why we play a couple of out-of-state teams because I want to see how we stack up against teams in the surrounding area. I also want to see how we stack up against teams from Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky. We want to play competitive teams. I’m proud of that.”
White called the Irish’s nine seniors in 2022 a strong class, and a key to the season on and off the field.
“They’re super-athletic,” White said of the seniors. “They have been around some of the other great kids in our program, so they’ve learned from the top and know what to give and what to expect.”
The senior class was led by four four-year varsity players. That group:
*Ella Maher, who was named one of six Academic All-America from Indiana in 2021. She had 35 goals and six assists through 15 games.
*Mary Kate Bedich, who White called one of the state’s top attacker and the quarterback of the attack side. She returned from a torn anterior cruciate ligament as a junior to have a strong senior season with 47 goals and six assists.
*Isabel A’Hearn, the lone returning defender for the Irish this season. “She’s been holding it down,” White said, adding that A’Hearn played a key role teaching younger players about the defense.
*Bella LoPresti, who White said performed “the dirty work, a lot of cleanup.” LoPresti was the Irish’s assists leader and White said she “keeps calm and organized on the attack end.” She had 15 goals and 14 assists through 15 games.
Other key seniors: midfielder Gracie Jarrett, captain Paige Emkow, who sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in February; midfielder Meredith Ward, attacker Kylee Lucas; and Lauren Gallagher.
“These seniors were so impactful,” White said. “They set the tempo, the pace of practice. They set how we play games. They built up the underclassmen and showed them, ‘This is the level, this is how we play.’ They were huge to our season success.”
Junior goaltender Kara McCarthy had a strong first varsity season, replacing longtime standout keeper Katie Shin.
“She had hard shoes to fill,” White said of McCarthy. “She took that in stride.”
That group led a competitive, balanced team that played fast and peaked as the postseason approached.
“We practice to win,” White said. “I told them from the beginning this is our year to win. We play best when we play fast and we play together. When we play our best lacrosse, we’re moving fast and running quickly and making those catches and making those passes – and we’re playing together.
“We’re looking to be the next pass, to be the one who gets the pass. We’re looking to slide. We’re looking to make that feed. We’re making somebody better by our play. Playing together is how we play best.”
And while the postseason ended sooner than White and the Irish hoped, not only was 2022 a solid season for the present – but a key season for setting the tone for the future as well.
“I love these girls,” White said. “I’ve loved all the classes, but this group is special to me. This senior class has been with me the longest. I’ve had them four of my five years. I think that’s why they’re so special to me. I’m excited about the direction of the program.
“The jayvee coaches are really building the girls up to be strong. We have a lot of juniors, sophomores and freshman in the program. We’re excited about the program and excited to see what comes next.”