The Polytech girls lacrosse team finished their 2013 campaign with a 13-1 record and earned their first DIAA Tournament berth in program history, making them the Dover Post girls lacrosse “Team of the Year.”
Polytech’s girls lacrosse program is still fairly young in relation to how long they’ve competed as a team within the Henlopen Conference. However, they improved yearly under Head Coach Lynn Richardson and a growing core that had been together since the beginning. Though, even after a 13-2 record last season; a tournament berth still eluded them.
Entering this season, many of the players that had built the Panthers into a force within the Henlopen South began their senior seasons; with one last chance at making the postseason and perhaps taking a run at a state title.
Seniors Jenna Hayes, Addie Stang and Jorden Dennis helped lead the offense this season, combining for 107 goals for the Panthers. Their leadership on offense led the Panthers to an average of 16 goals-per-game, making Polytech one of only two teams in the entire state to average 16 or more goals a game.
On the other end of the field, Julia Wise, Maxine Joseph, Chanel Gordy, and Vimani Baxter kept teams under wraps. Playing solidly in front of junior goaltender Taylor Lyon, the senior defensive crew helped keep opponents to just 5.9 goals-per-game.
Only eventual State Champion Cape Henlopen matched the Panthers when it came to scoring and keeping opponents off the scoreboard this season.
“This team is a special group of student-athletes,” said Head Coach Lynn Richardson. “The seniors started the program three years ago and they are graduating with a career record of 34-8 and a trip to the state tournament in their final season.”
And while their run ended in the first round of the DIAA State Tournament in a tough 9-8 loss to Ursuline Academy, this group of seniors helped Polytech accomplish an awful lot in three seasons.
“They have not only had a successful year, they had a successful high school career,” said Richardson. “They were great role models for a talented group of younger players and they certainly will be missed.”
The hard work and focus displayed by the Panthers fantastic senior group seemed to rub off on what will be the new faces of the Polytech program.
The Panthers not only saw production from their underclassmen, but some of them proved they’re ready for the spotlight.
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Three freshmen on the Panthers finished with double-digit goals this season, including Jamie Trabaudo who was second on the entire team in finding the back of the net, finishing with 39 goals on the year. Fellow freshmen Katie Richardson and Morgan Cook combined for 32 goals for Polytech.
Colleen O’Brien will be the vet of the defensive unit next season as a junior. While freshmen Allison McKay, Caroline Hermance and Kaitlin Bergold will make up a very young group of defenders next season. Although youthful, they all had the opportunity to learn under the solid group of senior defenders who led the Panthers this season, leaving Polytech in good hands.
Lyon will return for her senior season between the pipes after finishing this season with 2 shutouts, while giving up 4 or less goals 7 times in 14 games.
The Panthers will remember the 2013 season as the year they finally broke through, and the seniors will no doubt look back feeling good about their accomplishments. However, after 2014 some may look back at this season as the year the Panthers took their first step toward a future state title.