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Season Preview: Girls Lacrosse

There’s a different feel around Cathedral High School girls lacrosse this season.

It’s a younger, less-experienced feel – and to Lady Irish girls lacrosse coach Mary Anne White, that will make 2019 more challenging than recent seasons. And more interesting.

“We’re kind of a little bit of a growing phase, and trying to figure out where everybody fits and how they work together,” White said recently.

The Irish, the 2015 and 2017 Indiana Girls Lacrosse Association state champions and the state runners-up a year ago, began the ’19 season with a 4-2 record.

“We have a strong team, but we’re still trying to figure some things out,” White said. “We have a lot of time until the end of the season and so I’m hopeful.”

The buzzword early around Cathedral girls lacrosse early in ’19? Potential.

Whereas the Irish in recent seasons have been a senior-laden team with multiple tournament-tested upperclassmen, this year’s team is dominated by underclassmen. The ’19 Irish feature 13 seniors in the program, with just three or four starters returning from last season – with nine varsity players overall returning from last season.

“It’s just a lot of new players,” White said. “It’s all about the teamwork and the mindset and the intensity we bring. We’ve talked a lot on this team that just because we’ve been so successful in the past doesn’t mean we’re going to walk into the state tournament or even make it to the state tournament.

“We have to show up every day and push ourselves every day at practice. Nothing is going to be handed to us or given to us. We have to earn it in order to receive it. We talk about that a lot. Now, it’s just seeing their attitude.”

The ’19 Irish figure to be led by three senior captains who White called “great leaders:”

  • Abbey Vastag, the Irish’s varsity goaltender since her sophomore season and a player White called one of the state’s top goalies. Vastag recently missed eight months with a concussion, but White said she is “starting to step up and not letting the injury effect how she plays now.”
  • Midfielder Kate Schmidt, who will play collegiately at Detroit-Mercy. Schmidt is in her second season with the Irish, joining the team last season after moving from Maryland. “She’s 100 percent on the field at all times,” White said of Schmidt, who is transitioning this season from a defensive-oriented role to an attacking role. “She brings high intensity on the field.”
  • Meg Walker, who White called “a quiet leader” and a “huge asset on the field.” Added White, “She’s just a steady player. She gets a lot of ground balls. She causes turnovers. She’s a constant on the field.”

Those seniors will be key in a season when developing young talent will be foremost among the team’s season-long objectives.

“It’s fun to see how much talent we have and how much potential we have on this team,” White said. “We’ve got a lot of kids who have worked really hard in the offseason and now things are really coming into play for them during the season.”

White said as of early in the season the junior class is stepping up, as are several solid sophomores and freshmen who figure to form the core of the team moving forward.

“At the end of the day, it’s a team sport,” White said. “You can have one really excellent player, but if the rest of the team isn’t there to support them, things don’t connect. I’m really excited that I have a lot of talent on this team. It’s not now getting everyone on the same page.”

And White said while the Irish likely will face many of the challenges typically faced by young teams, the potential means success should be in the future – perhaps the not-too-distant future.

“We have a lot of really talented kids, and a lot of really athletic kids,” White said. “A lot of the mistakes we’re making are because they’re new to varsity and new to this level of play. So they’re really embracing how well they’ve done in the past and how aggressive and competitive this team needs to be. It’s just sorting out how we all work together so we can be successful in the end.”