Lepore Unlocks Her Passion for Lacrosse
Sage Lepore didn’t want to play lacrosse at first. She wanted to be a soccer player. However, after some convincing, Sage decided to make the switch, and that decision worked out in her favor as she became a crucial part of the Valley Regional girls’ lacrosse’s team’s offense as a senior this year.
Growing up, Sage would often get offers to try lacrosse clinics from her friend’s mom Sarah, but she was never interested. However, Sage’s friend Skylar encouraged her to play during their middle school years.
Initially, Sage wasn’t really into lacrosse. She stood on the sidelines at practice and didn’t fully understand the sport during her first few games. However, Sage decided to stick it out and keep playing into high school, making a decision that she soon realized was the right one.
“It didn’t immediately click with me. I just showed up to the practices and just watched. Even in my first game when they blew the whistle, I wasn’t used to it at all,” says Sage. “It really clicked with me in high school, just playing with the team. All the girls tried their best to teach me. I felt more comfortable.”
Entering high school, Sage decided that she wanted to continue trying her hand at lacrosse. She knew that Valley was looking for more players and felt it would be a good environment. Sage joined the team alongside her friend Leah Frantz, who was also a senior this season.
When she joined the Warriors, Sage saw the welcoming environment that she was expecting. Sage’s freshman season formed the groundwork for the bond that she built with her teammates. Sage says that bond only grew stronger throughout her tenure at Valley.
“It was really fun. Everyone was really nice,” Sage says. “The upperclassmen were really helpful, and we really had a great bond. That bond got better throughout our high school experience. It was really welcoming.”
Sage played at the JV level during her freshman year. After her sophomore season was canceled, Sage returned as a junior and earned a full-time spot in the varsity lineup. At first, Sage found the experience a bit nerve-wracking as she was new to playing varsity lacrosse. However, just like when she joined the team, Sage’s teammates worked with her to become a better lacrosse player and help her feel more comfortable on the field.
“It was intimidating at first. I didn’t want to feel like I was messing up the flow of the game. I didn’t want to feel unreliable,” says Sage. “I practiced with the girls, and going into game situations felt pretty normal. They were very encouraging.”
Sage has played on the offensive end of the field throughout her career and became a dangerous member of the Warriors’ attack. When she has the ball in her stick, Sage focuses on doing her job and making the best play possible for Head Coach Randy Netsch’s squad.
“Don’t mess up. Don’t waste this opportunity. Coach Netsch always tells us to make smart shots. Losing the ball and having a turnover is the worst feeling,” Sage says. “If I have the ball and I’m going towards the net, if I’m not 100-percent confident, I know I have my teammates.”
During her senior season, Sage helped the Valley girls’ lacrosse team finish with an overall record of 14-4, qualifying for both Shorelines and states. On April 21, the Warriors claimed a big 15-4 road win over North Branford in a game that Sage will always remember.
Along with all of Valley’s achievements, Sage enjoyed sharing the field alongside a group of teammates with which she had formed such a strong connection. Sage and the Warriors grew close during their four years together, and that chemistry contributed to better results on the field.
“It was fun. It’s weird to think that it was ending. This year, our bond was so much better,” says Sage. “Our relationship on and off the field helped us play better together. It was fun to be a part of that and just see the growth from junior year to senior year.”
Head Coach Randy Netsch describes Sage as a true team player for Valley Regional. Netsch says that Sage always put in the work and that the senior’s effort made the Warriors a stronger squad.
“Sage has exemplified what it means to be a team player with her work ethic and willingness to do whatever is needed to help us succeed,” Coach Netsch says. “She is an outstanding individual, and it has been a privilege to know and work with her during her lacrosse years at Valley.”
Following her sophomore season, Sage stopped playing soccer in order to focus on lacrosse. She realized how much fun she had playing the sport. Sage loved going to lacrosse practice and would willingly scrimmage the entire time if she could.
However, more so than just playing, Sage enjoyed playing lacrosse with her Warriors’ teammates. Sage says that she never would have joined the team if it wasn’t for her friends. Together, they helped develop the positive culture of the Valley girls’ lacrosse program.
“It’s really an honor to play this sport with these girls,” says Sage. “If my friend Skylar didn’t ask me to play in middle school, I don’t think I’d consider joining. Now that I did, over the years, I’ve encouraged my other friends to play. We really set up the Valley girls’ lacrosse team to continue being a welcome environment. It was great to be a part of it.”