Five Staples girls lax players commit to playing in college
Girls sports has arrived at Staples -- especially girls lacrosse.
Five seniors on the Staples girls lacrosse team officially announced their intention to play college lacrosse next year. Maeve Flaherty (Brown University), Ali Crofts (UConn), Remy Nolan (Boston University), Jessie Ambrose (Columbia University) and Adele Mackey (Skidmore College) were recognized for their decisions to play collegiately at an informal press conference Tuesday.
"It's absolutely historic," Lady Wreckers coach Cathy Schager said. "Seeing the ladies up here makes me speechless. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd get to this point. It's so rewarding to develop this program."
When Schager took over the program in 2005, Staples came off a 2-11 season. The Lady Wreckers went 2-14 in her first two years at the helm before she slowly but surely built them into a lacrosse power where they reached the Division II finals in 2010 and compiled a 15-5 record last spring.
Both Staples Principal John Dodig and athletic director Marty Lisevick credited Schager for the program's turnaround and the development of the five future college lacrosse players at Tuesday's informal press conference.
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"Our girls have arrived and we'll see more success in the future from them," said Lisevick, who was also waxing over the field hockey team winning FCIACs and the girls soccer team's Cinderella run to the Class LL semifinals.
Flaherty has been a four-year starter for the Lady Wreckers and one of their go-to players on offense. She was a First Team All-FCIAC selection as well as an All-American last year and in addition to her shot, she helped Staples possess the ball by being dominant in winning draw controls.
"I'm very excited about it because I want to pursue my academics and athletics to the highest level," Flaherty said. "Brown stood out for me as a school because of its academics and athletics."
Brown's women's lacrosse has been a .500 team of late. Flaherty hopes to change it.
"I'll have an opportunity to help the program move up and give it a chance to grow," Flaherty said. "It offers a great learning environment."
The speedy Crofts also made things happen on offense. She may be heading to a school that's renowned for its women's and men's basketball teams and is confident she can put UConn women's lacrosse into the same stratosphere as its roundball counterparts.
`I chose UConn for the school first and it's a bonus I get to play lacrosse," Crofts said. "I like the program and energy and the athletic program is outstanding. They put a lot of effort into all of their sports programs."
Ambrose never played before freshman year but has developed into an offensive force. She's deft in feeding her teammates and has a lethal shot too.
"I'm just really excited to move onto the next level, both academically and athletically," Ambrose said. "I knew going into the whole recruiting process that there's no women's lacrosse after college and I wanted to go where I get the best education and where I belong."
In checking out different places, she knew Columbia was right for her.
"I love the location, the curriculum and the lacrosse program stuck out in comparison to the other places and this is where I fit in the most," Ambrose said.
Mackey was also an offensive force for Staples, and wanted to play college lacrosse. She felt skidmore was the perfect fit for her.
"The coach was interested and I loved the campus and town," Mackey said. "I spent a night there and I met the girls and I can't imagine not being there. The academics are great."
After looking at many New England Small Colleges Athletic Conference schools, she decided to join the Liberty League because this Upstate New York campus was right for her on many levels.
"Everything about the school, not just lacrosse, works for me," Mackey said. "I love the area and academically, it fits perfectly for me."
While the first four are known for their offense, Nolan is a gritty player who marks well and gets to many ground balls.
"It feels good and I'm excited to be in Boston, playing the sport I love and making new friends," Nolan said. "I think what swayed my decision was being in a city, the coaching staff, and obviously, the opportunity."
Nolan isn't sure about her major and is confident BU will help her sort it out.
"BU has a lot to choose from to study and it will help me decide what I want to major in," Nolan said.
For now, the five perspective college players are focused on the present, which is leading the Lady Wreckers to a title before they leave Westport.
"I hope for a really consistent season and if we play our hardest, we'll go far," Crofts said.