From now until the end of the season we’ll run a weekly notebook. Here is the first, featuring the progress of White Plains’ program.
UPDATE: Just got word that Kate Leone scored her 200th point Friday night against Hastings.
A youth girls lacrosse program was established in White Plains in 2007 to help develop players starting in the fifth grade.
Seven years later that initial group of fifth-graders has transformed into a junior class that has helped the Tigers (6-1-1) to one of the best starts in program history.
While the youth program taught the girls the game at a young age, it also instilled a work ethic that has them still playing after the school season ends.
“We have girls now that are not only playing March through May, but they’re playing year-round,” White Plains coach Mike Leone said. “It’s the commitment level.”
A big part of that junior class has been Leone’s daughter Kate. The midfielder is the program’s career leading goal scorer with 156 goals heading into Friday night’s home game against Hastings. Fellow junior Mary Lynch has also proved vital in the midfield.
Starting goalie Kelsey Fee, whom Leone considers to be among the best in the section, Tess D’Arcy and Lauren Sharpe, starters currently out with injuries, and Morgan Falvey, a reserve defender, are all members of that junior class.
“They’ve been together a long time,” Leone said of his juniors, many of whom also play basketball. “It’s a combination of a lot of things, but playing lacrosse earlier obviously has made a huge difference.”
It’s not just the Class of 2014 that’s helped turn around a team that finished 6-11-1 last season.
Several sophomores, including attacker Maryclare O’Meara, who has 42 points this season, have stepped into starting roles.
The seniors, though, who have impressed Mike Leone the most.
Emily Robbins, Holly Stumpf and Bethany Herrman have anchored a defense that has allowed 5.25 goals per game.
“They’re really taking ownership and I’m really pleased,” Leone said. “It has been nothing but a pleasant surprise.”
A strong work ethic has been a staple of this year’s team, according to Leone.
“The girls have put a lot of time and effort into it, a lot of hours in the offseason that nobody sees,” Leone said. “The hard work is really beginning to pay off.”
Milestones: Ossining’s Molly Malone scored her 200th career goal this week. Malone’s teammate Danielle Gervacio and Greeley’s Maura Grant, both seniors, scored their 100th goals on the same day last week. Last weekend, Ursuline junior Carly Wooters and senior Michaela Brown both reached the 100-goal mark. Mahopac’s Samantha Karner, Clarkstown North’s Janie Lachman, Putnam Valley’s Melissa Wagner and Nanuet’s Shannon Booth all reached the century mark as well.