Over the years, the girls’ lacrosse teams from the WPIAL have not fared very well at the PIAA playoffs. In fact, since 2009 when lacrosse became an official PIAA sport, there has not been a boys or girls team from the WPIAL that has ever won or been a runner-up at the state championship.
A lot of the reason for the dearth of representation has been due to the dominance of teams from the eastern part of Pennsylvania, who play an “East Coast” style of lacrosse. This season, the Foxes have challenged themselves to take on a new look and the senior captains, Makenna Blazer, Marissa Hardiman, and Rebecca Klaas, are a big part of leading the way. In fact, as of April 29, the team has earned an early nod to the WPIAL playoffs and has an unblemished section record.
“The East Coast game is deliberate, more planned out, and structured,” says student athlete Rebecca, a competitive player who succeeds through persistence. “The West tends to use more fast breaks and frequently drives to the cage. We now are implementing more of an East style of play with our new defensive set, instead of just man-to-man. We have been working on strategic offensive plays, rather than just pushing through the defense.”
All three captains and their team have a shared vision: win the section and make a more productive run in the postseason. Last year they were upset by Pine-Richland in overtime in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs. The sting of that memory still remains and is a big motivator in their efforts to master a new style.
Rising to the Challenge
“As captains, it is our job to motivate and show our teammates what it takes to be the best lacrosse player that you can be,” says Makenna Blazer. “We trust in the leadership we have and that we are going to be able to play at the highest level.”
But it’s also the captains and their fellow seniors who are making that possible through leadership-by-example. The other veterans on the team include Rudi Adamiak, Emily Ben, Shannon Coleman, Makenzie Miller, Chase Murton, Julie Scheffler, and Sarah Sinnot. Their collective willingness to learn new concepts has enabled the squad to rise to every challenge, and they are getting physically and mentally stronger – and the junior varsity team is following in their footsteps.
Senior Captains Lead the Way
Her teammates view Makenna, as inspirational, very approachable, and someone who makes all members of the team feel included and comfortable. On the field, she is a big scoring threat for the Foxes, yet remains calm through any game situation that might arise.
Senior defender Rebecca has been the rock of the defense this season, and has proven to be a strong 1 v 1. Her commitment, intensity, and ability to cause turnovers have been a huge part of the team’s success.
“I really feel that we can win WPIALs this year,” says Marissa, one of the team’s other captains. “We have new and different plays to the offense and defense that can cause more turnovers and allow us to better control the pace of the game. I think we’re going to bring in some new plays that many teams in the WPIAL haven’t seen yet.”
Their regular season is ending soon and the team is starting to turn their sights to the WPIAL playoffs. They all have huge expectations for themselves, and with an extremely talented and experienced senior class leading the way, they should be able to reach or even exceed their goals.
Makenna simply says, “We just need to go out and play every game with a certain level of intensity.”
It doesn’t seem like they will have a problem with that.