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Senior captain Allie Ruel and the Valley Regional girls’ lacrosse team recorded six victories with a largely inexperienced roster this season. Ruel earned the Warriors’ MVP Award after notching 64 goals and 36 assists on the campaign. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Freshman Emi Bisson was a co-recipient of the Warriors’ Rookie of the Year Award for the 2019 campaign. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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The Valley Regional girls’ lacrosse team had a bit of a rebuilding year in 2019. With an overwhelming number of young players mixed in with a few veterans, the Warriors notched six wins on the season to just miss states. Overall, the
Head Coach Randy Netsch believed that his squad turned in a quality season this year. Considering the youth movement and some injuries that held key contributors out of the line-up, 2019 is a success in Netsch’s book. At the very least, the campaign is a nice stepping stone to help his young squad improve.
“This was a very young team. We had 13 freshmen this year,” said Coach Netsch. “There were several freshmen who had to step into to full-time varsity roles. All in all, I think we did very well considering how young we were.”
Coach Netsch believed that the Warriors showed flashes of greatness throughout the season. One game where Valley seemed to put it all together was a 13-12 victory against Lauralton Hall late in the season. The Warriors played hard-nosed lacrosse all game and were able to come out on top in the final seconds of the match up.
“That game against Lauralton Hall was a tough one. That was probably one of the best wins we had this year because of how the girls kept competing,” Netsch said. “It was back and forth all game long. We won with only 20 or so seconds left in the game. It really showed how tough we were.”
One of the biggest factors for Valley this year was senior captain Allie Ruel, who tallied 64 goals and 36 assists on the season. Coach Netsch believes that Ruel was the best player to come through the lacrosse program in the last four years. Ruel earned the Warriors’ Team Most Valuable Player Award, First-Team All Shoreline Conference honors, Second-Team All State honors. Coach Netsch knows that the Warriors’ are going to look a lot different next year without Ruel suiting up every game.
“It’s great to have a player of Allie’s caliber on the team. It brings the whole level of play up. Everyone sees what a great player looks like and aspires to be that type of a player,” Netsch said. “She’s been the best player to come through the program in her four years. She’s going to leave some huge shoes to fill; like size 20 shoes.”
Also providing some major firepower for the Warriors on attack was sophomore Tory Rider, who earned the Warriors’ Offensive MVP Award and All-Shoreline Conference Second Team honors. Coach Netsch thought that Ruel and Rider were a formidable pair when they got to work on offense. Rider provided 43 goals on the campaign.
“Tory’s a very talented attack player,” Netsch said. “Having Allie with her on the attack worked really well together. She dealt with injuries throughout the season, but she was a big part of the offense.”
Earning Valley’s Midfield MVP Award was junior Celia Ghilani. Ghilani also came through on the attack scoring 31 goals on the season. Coach Netsch also relied on Ghilani to help gain possession.
“Celia’s a steady, strong defender, and she was really good on the circle,” Netsch said. “She doesn’t take the draw herself, but she’s good at getting in there, getting the ball, and helping control the draw.”
The Warriors’ defense was anchored by junior Elena Peterlik. Coach Netsch depended on Peterlik to handle some of the trickiest opposing attackers, and she earned Valley’s Defensive MVP Award for her great work.
“Elena’s a really fast defender,” Netsch said. We would typically put her on the quickest girls, and she had a toughest cover every night. She did a fantastic job.”
The Warriors’ last line of defense was senior Mia Cost who made some great stops in the net. Cost had been a field hockey goalie exclusively until she learned that the lacrosse team needed a net protector. Cost stepped into the net 2018, and has been a mainstay at the position since.
“Mia was a field hockey goalie, and she ended up playing all four years in field hockey,” said Netsch. “She knew that we needed a goalie the year before last and she came forward and volunteered to be goalie junior and senior year. It was a huge help for us.”
Earning the Warriors’ Rookie of the Year awards were freshmen Emi Bisson and Margaret Jacaruso. Coach Netsch was dependent on a lot of young players, but Bisson and Jacaruso stood out the most.
“Margaret can play midfield offense, but she s a stronger defender. She’s really quick and will be a huge asset next year,” said Netsch. “Emelia plays midfield and attack and we’re going to need a lot out of her next year.”
As for the future, the Warriors will be in a similar position in regards to youth, but hopefully some of those players that received a trial by fire this year will be that much more prepared for next year. One thing is for certain, Valley will work hard to make it happen.
“I think they played with a lot of heart and they had good team camaraderie this year. They worked hard all season long,” Netsch said. “Next year, it’s going to be a new program basically. It’s going to be a lot of freshmen and sophomores, like three-quarters of the team. We’re going to need to fill some key positions up and down the field.”
From the Sidelines
The Valley Regional girls’ lacrosse team’s 2019 roster included senior captain Allie Ruel, senior Mia Cost; juniors Maeve Collins, Celia Ghilani, Elena Peterlik, Madden Riley; sophomores Elizabeth Cap, Janeth Echeverria, Hanley Ferrucci, Tory Rider, Abigail Shakun; and freshmen Mia Alio, Emi Bisson, Sarah Cole, Elle Cost, Leah Frantz, Taryn Frazier, Reagan Furguseon, Grace Haskins, Margaret Jacaruso, Brooke Levine, Sage Lepore, Salmi Miller, and Madison Nevaiser.
Randy Netsch finished his first season as Head Coach of the Warriors. His assistant Coach is Jim O’Brien
Valley’s wins this season came against Morgan (16-10), Haddam-Killingworth (23-17 and 20-8), Holy Cross (18-5), Suffield (14-10), and Lauralton Hall (13-12).
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