By Alice Roche Cody
For girls' lacrosse, it's all about family bonding. With 26 players, juniors and seniors became Big Sisters, paired with their sophomore and freshman Little Sisters. And this season, the kinship didn't stop there. It extended to our Middle School athletes, as varsity laxers matched up with 17 Little-Little Sisters.
"The main goal this year is to have a FUN season that's productive and progressive and continues to build our program," said Head Coach Denise Wilson. "Connecting with our middle schoolers is also a goal, and I'm glad we implemented some new initiatives."
To boost that outreach effort, last Tuesday, the varsity girls watched the Middle School lax game, and to foster school spirit, they handed out goodie bags with blue balloons to their Little-Little Sisters.
Coach Wilson anticipates a successful season, with the home opener on Wednesday against Bernard's High. Last week's scrimmage against Newark Academy gave her squad an opportunity to build team skills. "It was a good chance to give everyone some playing time and to see them compete against a new opponent," she said. "We worked out the wrinkles, and we're ready for the season. I'm proud of all my girls."
As the girls' lacrosse program continues to grow, Coach Wilson notes many strong and competitive players are checking out GSB. "We're attracting girls to our team who already play lacrosse and want to continue in college," she said.
This spring's roster includes three returning seniors – including Hayley Armstrong '21, who will take the field next year at Ithaca – and a new player, Stevens commit Daria Hadiyan '21; six returning juniors, with Sydney Goldberg '22 as an experienced transfer; five returning sophomores, with one new player and a strong transfer in Ava Robustelli '23; and eight freshmen. To further highlight the family atmosphere, Hayley's mom, Kristen Armstrong, serves as the indispensable assistant coach.
For the eight-week season ahead, the Knights will play 17 games along with the State tournament. Considering the pandemic, Coach Wilson is especially thankful for the schedule. "Two years ago, we had our spring break trip to kick off the season, strengthen our lax skills, and bond as a team," she said. "Last year, we only played four days, so this year we have to do the best we can, both on and off the field, while also abiding by the Covid protocols. The girls have been working hard and are happy to be playing. We're all excited for the season ahead."