New Coach Has Big Vision for Barnegat Girls Lacrosse Squad
Barnegat girls lacrosse coach Lyndsey Torre has a vision of what her team might look like within the next season or two. And it’s not the 1-14 team it was a year ago.
“We want to be a force in our division,” said the first-year coach, referring to the Bengals’ future place in the Shore Conference Class B South division. “We want to be competitive with teams like Lacey, Donovan Catholic and Point Pleasant Borough. And we’re going to get there. It’s going to come with experience, but we’re on our way.”
It seems that already is the case. The Bengals had won three of their first five games heading into an April 17 contest against the Panthers. But while they scored eight goals against the Lions on April 13, Lacey more than doubled that output, popping in 20 goals. So, Barnegat has a little way to go before it starts closing the game between being a good B South team and one of the elite clubs in the division.
“We have the talent and the skill to be in games against the good teams,” Torre said. “We just have to clean up the little things that make the difference between the good and great teams. We have to be tighter, faster, crisper with our passes. We need to take care of the ball better.”
Since lacrosse is a game in which success generally is achieved by possessing the ball well, it only makes sense that a young squad still may need more experience before those “little things” start becoming more integrated into its game. And that’s the key – it’s a matter of allowing the young players on the squad to mature a bit.
“We have three seniors and a junior,” Torre said. “The rest are sophomores and freshmen, and I have only one senior out there directing the offense. At some point, the younger players have to step up and take charge. It’s about having the right mentality.”
Fortunately, the Bengals have a solid senior leader in Lexi Quinn, who had tallied 22 goals prior to the April 17 contest. She’s the one who controls the pace from the midfield and so far has been the most consistent player on the field for the Bengals. Around her is a lot of youth.
The rest of the midfield includes sophomores Kara Ferrigno and Chloe McGee, and freshman Carly Holohan and Madeline Schleicher, while the attackers consist of seniors Jaqueline Hause and Robin Heinmall, sophomores Kyla Rauch and Madison Narozniak and freshman Madelyn Santorelli.
Defensively, the Bengals are even more youthful, with the most experienced players back from last year’s squad being junior goaltender Darianna Guiterrez and sophomore Ashley Walter. Also in the back this season are sophomore Kariana Santiago and freshmen Brooke West and Shannon Schieverea.
“Defensively, we have to stay stick to stick,” Torre said. “We can’t let the other attacker get a step ahead of us. Our girls are going to have to make their marks change what they want to do and our goalie has to be ready for the outside shot. But overall, when we get behind by a goal or a couple of goals, our girls have to keep their heads up and just chip away.”
Against Lacey, Guiterrez made 19 saves, while Ferrigno, Quinn and Schleicher each scored a pair of goals. Rauch and Walter had the other two. The Bengals lost their first contest of the season against Holmdel before winning three straight, including a 17-3 drubbing of division rival Manchester on April 11. Against the Hawks, Quinn scored seven goals, while Schleicher tallied four, McGee added three and Ferrigno buried a pair.
“Our girls are going to be good,” Torre said. “I know they have what it takes to be a good team. They really just have to start believing in themselves – and take care of the ball.”
— David Biggy