Lady Trojans make playoffs
It was a breakthrough year for the Weston girls lacrosse team. Weston qualified for SWCs and States for the first time in its six-year history as a varsity program and finished with its first-ever regular-season winning record at 8-7-1.
"I thought the girls really stepped up their game," Lady Trojan Coach Erin Wilson said. "They went into every game with a winning attitude and played hard to make every game a competitive one. The girls made it their goal to make it to SWCs and States from the start of the season and it was great they were able to accomplish this goal."
Although 19th-seeded Weston lost 12-11 at 14th-seeded Northwest Catholic in the qualifying round of the Division II playoffs to finish at 8-9-1, it was still satisfied with the season.
"It was awesome and a great way to finish my high school career," Lady Trojan senior tri-captain Brittany Swanson said. "We played like a team and I had a blast."
Swanson and the other two senior captains, Sam Seath and Sam Druks, were varsity starters freshman year when the team struggled. Slowly but surely, this trio helped change the culture of the team around and coupled with Weston Youth Lacrosse expanding its program, their younger teammates were more seasoned players when they got to high school.
"In comparison to last year, we worked as a team and had a connection with each other, which is why we did so well," Seath said.
Druks said, "Since we played with the same girls for a long time, a lot came naturally for us."
The captains set the bar high in the preseason and let their younger teammates know what was expected of them.
"The team put in a lot of effort," Swanson said. "We knew what our goals were and we knew what we wanted to accomplish. Sam, Sam and I talked to the team in the preseason told them what we wanted to do and met each goal we set."
Druks said, "We came together and we were on the same page of what we wanted to do and our hard work translated into wins."
Also working in Weston's favor was that the players' sticks weren't dormant during the fall and winter.
"This was accomplished because of the commitment players have made to bettering themselves not just during the season but during the off season," Wilson said. "We have a lot more players playing in clubs year round to better their skills and get the opportunities to play with each other. They worked hard in practice from day one when they started conditioning and would help to pick up one another when someone was having an off game."
Although Weston did well, it could have done better if it weren't for squandered opportunities in three close games, one being a tie.
"Next year, we have to win those type of games," Seath said. "We could have done better but I'm happy with the season."
Swanson was a First Team All-SWC and All-State selection as well as All-American Honorable Mention. She was the team's Midfielder of the year for the third straight year and led the team in scoring with 57 goals and 19 assists for 76 points. In addition, she led the team in ground balls (71), draw controls (50), caused turnovers (38) and interceptions (22) and is on the Connecticut Post's All-Area team. Overall, she's Weston's career-leader in goals (156), points (202), draws (125), ground balls (174), interception (72) and caused turnovers (112) and tied for second in assists (46) with Druks.
Seath is the career-team leader in assists (53) and second in goals (112) and points (165). She is third in ground balls (122) and for this year, she had 23 goals and 20 assists for 43 points and 22 ground balls. For the third straight year, she was team's Attack Player of the Year and was selected All-Patriot Division by the SWC coaches.
Druks (53-46-99) was a point short of the 100-point career mark and finished the year at 13-16-29. She was second on the team in career ground balls (123) and picked up 23 of them this year.
Junior Hannah Hutch-ins (34-21-55) had a vicious shot and knew how to get open but made her mark on defense in earning the team's Defensive Player of the Year award. Hutchins was an All-Patriot Division selection and had 53 ground balls, 41 draw controls, 23 caused turnovers and 10 interceptions.
Also finding the net with frequency were junior Cara Fleming (17-7-24) and sophomore Catie Ledwick (15-5-20). Fleming had 46 ground balls, 17 draw controls and 14 caused turnovers and Ledwick had 50 ground balls, 18 draw controls, 18 caused turnovers and seven interceptions.
Sophomores Abbie Chepolis (8-1-9) and Nicole DeCanio (7-3-10) are also developing consistency near the cage and had 30 and 20, ground balls, respectively. Freshmen Taylor Swanson (4-0-4) and Frances Holmes (3-1-4) also showed a lot of potential. The southpaw Swanson was the team's Rookie of the Year and had 29 ground balls, eight draw controls and seven caused turnovers.
Defensively, junior Alex Fumai did a great job of shadowing opposing attackers. Fumai (3-1-4) scored on transition and had 36 ground balls, 21 caused turnovers nine draw controls and eight interceptions. Junior Sarah O'Brien was an All-Patriot Division player with 43 ground balls, 16 caused turnovers, seven draw controls and seven interceptions. Also contributing were juniors Becky O'Brien (30 ground balls, 10 caused turnovers) and Katie Maretz (20 groundballs, eight caused turnovers) and freshman Sarah Schwartz (14 ground balls, seven caused turnovers, five interceptions).
Sophomore goalie Carolyn Figliola made 206 saves, stopping .538 percent of the shots she faced.
"Our success will carry into next year because we will have more players this year stepping up their commitment and play in club leagues year round," Wilson said. "This group of girls has set the bar for next year and I know they will not settle for anything but better than they did this season."
Fleming, Fumai and Hutchins are the captains next year. Their predecessors are confident they will do a great job.
"They need to continue to build the program we built, work as a team and integrate the freshmen class and if we do it, we'll do better than this year," Seath said.
Druks said, "I really think they are in good hands next year because next year's captains were unofficial leaders this year with Sam, Brittany and I. I think they will do a good job and I really believe we'll do better next year."
Brittany Swanson said, "Our team has always been young and with the freshmen and JV, we look good and we'll have an amazing team next year. Hannah has stepped it up and worked on her game. Cara and Alex have improved. I hope they keep pushing and set the bar high."
The incoming captains feel they are up to the task. They are also looking forward to having current freshmen Stephanie Buffa and Morgan Moubayed, who were injured this year, making major contributions in 2011.
"We lose a lot of talent but if we work together and do our best, we can still be successful," Fleming said.
Fumai said, "I'm actually very excited to be captain next year because we have good freshmen coming in and Taylor Swanson and Stephanie Buffa will help as sophomores. Of course, we'll miss Brittany, Sam and Sam but we'll have enough girls to keep it going. We had a few close losses and hope to turn them around. If we work hard, we can definitely win those games."