Barnegat Leader Spring Sports Previews

Confident Barnegat Lacrosse Squad Takes Aim at Division Title

Apr 19, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Junior midfielder Maddie Schleicher is one of several prolific scorers on the attack for the Barnegat girls lacrosse team this spring.

It’s an unusual situation when a coach has an entire roster of players returning from one season to the next. Barnegat girls lacrosse coach Lyndsey Torre was in such a situation as the season started a few weeks back.

“We’re in great shape,” Torre said despite the Bengals’ opening 7-5 loss to Middletown South. The team then won its next six games.

“But we have a lot of season ahead of us, and we’re really excited about what this team can do.”

With four players who scored 147 goals last spring, the first thing this team can do is deliver the ball into the goal. Leading the way is junior midfielder Maddie Schleicher, who a year ago registered 61 goals and several games into this season passed the 100-goal mark for her career. Schleicher is the one at the center of a potent offensive attack, and she can strike from just about anywhere.

But there are others who can fire the ball into the net from several spots, including senior midfielder Chloe McGee, senior attacker Katie Ferrigno and sophomore attacker Alexis Jackson. Junior attacker Madelyn Santorelli also is a threat to score multiple times per game, as is senior attacker Kyla Rauch. Sophomore midfielder Ashley Pringle will help orchestrate offensive sets and also can send the ball streaking past the goaltender.

Defensively, senior Ashley Walter is the anchor and, with 98 groundballs raked up last season, excellent at gaining possession, while senior goaltender Gabby Furrule, who recorded 120 saves last year, has enough experience to keep the Bengals in games.

The rest of the team includes senior defenders Jamie Landon, Gabby Pelehcaty and Karina Santiago; senior attacker Valorie Gonzalez; junior attackers Heather Dwyer and Jennie Woodcock; junior defenders Patricia Tanola, Carly Holohan  and Saria Desai; sophomore midfielder Samantha Madej; sophomore defender Paige Mengegus; and freshman defender Isabel Guiro.

Of course, with such a talented and experienced crew of players, the Bengals should be a contender for the Shore Conference Class B South division title. Interestingly, conference officials this season changed the division schedules from playing each team twice to playing each once, which could give Barnegat a leg up in B South. Still, Torre is most interested in developing her players to compete against better teams outside the division as well.

“It took a whole season when I came here to get these girls their confidence within our division,” she said. “Now, we’re developing their confidence outside of the division. We want them to be confident no matter who we’re playing and just play Barnegat lacrosse. I see a team that finally has some confidence. I see a positive season ahead for us.”

After losing to Middletown South in the opener, the Bengals won six straight heading into their April 17 meeting with division rival Pinelands. An 8-7 win over Central was followed by a big, 9-3 victory over division foe Lacey, a 15-3 decision over Toms River East, a 13-3 triumph against Long Branch and a 12-5 drubbing of Brick Memorial.

But without question, the biggest win so far this season just happens to be the latest one for Barnegat – a 12-11, come-from-behind, overtime win against division rival Point Pleasant Borough, last season’s division champ.

The Bengals trailed at the half, 6-5, and with just over four minutes to go were down by three, 11-8. Ferrigno set off the 4-0 spurt, before Santorelli and McGee fired in the next two goals to tie the contest by the end of regulation. Schleicher beat a pair of defenders and threw in the game-winner in OT.

Furrule finished with 13 saves. Schleicher ended up with four goals, while Jackson delivered three, and McGee and Santorelli each tossed in a pair. Rauch added one goal.

If there are divisional wins over Pinelands, Manchester (April 22) and Jackson Liberty (May 2) – which entered the week with a 7-1 overall record and led the division at 3-0 – that would give the Bengals at least a share of the B South crown. Then a win over Donovan Catholic on May 9 would likely be required for an outright division title.

David Biggy

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