This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.07/10/2022 12:00 AM
As they entered their final year with the Warriors, the seniors on the Valley Regional girls’ lacrosse team felt confident that they could put together a strong season in 2022. With their determination and overall consistency throughout the field, those seniors helped lead the Warriors to a great campaign that featured 14 victories and the team’s first appearance in states since 2018.
Valley finished its season with an overall record of 14-4. The Warriors won their first 13 games of the year on their way to a mark of 14-2 in the regular season, qualifying for both the Shoreline Conference Tournament and the Class S State Tournament.
Head Coach Randy Netsch said that this year’s team was able to mesh together and use its experience to play as a cohesive unit. Netsch added that the Warriors benefited from having strength at every position this season.
“We had strengths up and down the field,” Coach Netsch said. “We had a strong defense and a great offense that generated a lot of scoring this year. We had speed in the midfield. We were a very balanced team this year. That was the difference.”
During the regular season, Valley defeated North Branford by a 15-4 score in a road game on April 24, marking the fourth victory of the team’s 13-game win streak. Coach Netsch said it was a game that stood out for the Warriors and showed how strong they were this year.
Valley later faced North Branford in the semifinals of the Shoreline Conference Tournament. As the No. 2 seed, the Warriors took a 16-13 defeat against No. 3 North Branford in a hard-fought battle.
Valley Regional then entered the Class S State Tournament for the first time in four years as the No. 3 seed. Valley took a 14-7 loss to No. 14 Lauralton Hall, which went on to advance to the final, in the first round of the state draw.
Despite those two losses, Coach Netsch was proud of how his team competed throughout the season. While it wasn’t the storybook ending they had hoped for, Netsch said that it felt great for the Warriors to earn their spot back in the playoffs this year.
“It was great to get into the postseason again. It had been a few years since we were in the State and Shoreline Tournament,” said Netsch. “We had tough losses, but we felt good about how we played in the tournament games.”
Reaching both postseason tournaments were the Warriors’ main goals heading into the season. Coach Netsch said that his players came into the campaign with confidence and felt that it was their time to prove just how far they had come.
Valley was led by its four captains throughout the season. The Warriors’ captains were seniors Emi Bisson, Grace Haskins, and Margaret Jacaruso, along with junior Reagan Doyon. Valley’s senior class also featured Madison Neviaser, Salmi Miller, Jordan Harris, Sage Lepore, and Leah Frantz.
Emi Bisson was selected as the Shoreline Conference Player of the Year this season. Bisson was the leader of the Warriors’ offense, recording 141 points on 85 goals and 56 assists. Bisson was named Valley’s Most Valuable Player, earned All-State First Team honors, and made the All-Shoreline Conference First Team alongside fellow senior Madison Neviaser and sophomore Rowan Pilon. She also scored her 100th career goal in Valley’s 15-4 win at North Branford.
Grace Haskins led the effort in the midfield for the Warriors, scoring 9 goals and contributing 10 assists on the year. Coach Hetsch called Haskins one of the team’s most dominant midfielders due to her speed and stick-handling skills.
Reagan Doyon and Margaret Jacaruso were both defenders for Valley. Netsch said that Jacaruso was a vocal leader and a strong defender, while Doyon used her speed to generate some quick offense for Valley.
All four of Valley’s captains proved integral leaders in all areas of the field. Coach Netsch said that each captain led by example across the board, making everyone on the team want to work harder.
“They led on all points. We had a leader on offense, a leader in the midfield, and leaders on defense,” Netsch said. “When you have good players who have confidence, go out there, and work hard, it makes everybody else around them play that much harder.”
Pilon was another leader on offense for Valley, earning All-State Second Team accolades with Neviaser. Pilon tallied 87 points with 68 goals and 19 assists on her way to being named the Warriors’ Offensive Player of the Year.
Netsch said that Bisson and Pilon played well together and were never selfish with the ball. Joining them in big roles as attackers were senior Sage Lepore, who Netsch said was strong transitionally; and senior Leah Frantz, who Netsch said has the speed to make a difference on the offensive end.
The Warriors also saw numerous offensive contributions from their midfield. Alongside Haskins, Valley’s starting midfield consisted of Neviaser, senior Salmi Miller, and freshman Lilly Lavigne.
Lavigne posted 53 points with 34 goals and 19 assists on the season, garnering All-Shoreline Conference Second Team honors alongside Miller. Neviaser won the team’s Warrior Award due to her unwavering effort to get better every day. She finished the season with 19 goals and 6 assists. Miller played a big role in the team’s success at the midfield position as a senior, scoring 19 goals to with 12 assists this year.
Defensively, behind Doyon and Jacaruso, who received All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention, the Warriors featured sophomore Olivia Cunningham and freshman Grace Lunz. Cunningham was named Valley’s Defensive Player of the Year, and Lunz won Rookie of the Year honors for the Warriors. Coach Netsch said that Cunningham is a vocal, heads-up player who can do it all, while Lunz impressed him from the jump and has shown the potential to be a great player for Valley in the coming years.
Junior goalkeeper Maizy Libby was presented with the Warriors’ Most Improved Player Award. Coach Netsch said that Libby, who has been the team’s starting keeper since her first day in the program, really stepped it up in the net this year. Libby finished her season with a 44-percent save percentage, nearly doubling her total from last year.
Alongside every accolade that his players earned, Coach Netsch was selected as the Shoreline Conference Coach of the Year for the 2022 campaign.
Coach Netsch knows that it will be no easy task to replace the eight seniors who led Valley to its successful season and helped build the program during the past few years. However, when the team steps back on the field next season, Netsch will be looking for his returning players to come in ready to prove that the Warriors are here to stay.
“I hope they come onto the field with some confidence. It’s going to be tough to come back. We’re just going to have to see what we get,” said Netsch said. “Defensively, we’re fine. Midfield, we’re good. We just have to find ways to generate offense next season.”
The Valley Regional girls’ lacrosse team’s varsity roster for the 2022 season featured senior captains Emi Bisson, Grace Haskins, and Margaret Jacaruso; along with seniors Madison Neviaser, Salmi Miller, Jordan Harris, Sage Lepore, and Leah Frantz. Senior Caroline Haskins was the team manager. Valley’s roster also included junior captain Reagan Doyon; as well as juniors Grace Abderhalden, Mykenzie Parker, Allison Safran, Eileen Russell, Maizy Libby, Callie Brittenbach, and Vanessa Taylor; sophomores Olivia Cunningham and Rowan Pilon; and freshmen Lilly Lavigne and Grace Lunz.