Tuckerton/Little Egg Harbor Leader Spring Sports Previews

Pinelands Girls Lacrosse Hopes to Rise With Youth Movement

Apr 05, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy While the Pinelands girls lacrosse program has a bunch of players who have returned this spring, many of them played backup roles last year.

As the spring season approached, Pinelands Regional High School girls lacrosse coach Paul Millar was looking forward to a team full of returning starters. But when eight of last year’s players didn’t return, including a handful of girls who had starting roles a year ago, it set Pinelands back a little bit.


“Instead of a team with more experience, we’re moving girls into starting positions who have less experience,” he said. “It’s almost like a rebuilding season for us. But we have a great group of awesome kids who are working hard to get better, a lot of athletes who are trying to become better lacrosse players.”


Unfortunately, the Wildcats faced an extremely experienced and talented Toms River North team in their first contest of the season, which ended up a 17-2 loss. But the good part is they have the entire season ahead of them to get better.


“Without a feeder system, it’s kind of tough,” said Millar, whose squad hasn’t won a game the past two seasons. “Then, if you don’t get a lot of kids back from the year before, that makes it a little tougher. But we had a lot of girls who did come back, and now they have to rise to a higher level.”


With one senior, Kylie Kinasczuk, on the crew, Millar will be relying heavily on a group of juniors and sophomores to bring the program forward this spring, starting with junior midfielders Jamilyn Hawkins and Frankie Disanzo; junior attackers Erin Pomponio, Skylar Callahan and Emily Kaszuba; and junior defenders Sam Kline and Anna Mattina. The sophomores who will be asked to fill important starting roles are midfielders Paula Handel, Layla Frost and Karianna Eagle, along with defender Kennedy Heinrichs and goaltender Quinn Moore.


“Frankie’s going to be good at leading us from the back, and Quinn was really good last year with a 60 percent save percentage, despite having a lot of balls fired at her,” Millar said. “Erin and Karianna are going to be important for us up front, and Paula has improved a lot since last year.”


Besides the returning players, several athletic freshmen have joined the fray, including defender Bridget Dudas and midfielder Karlie Pomponio. Millar said both girls will figure significantly into the development of the program because of their athletic influence.


“Bridget really understands how to play defense and has great field awareness,” he said. “And Karlie is going to benefit us both on defense and in the midfield, just from an athletic standpoint. She’s versatile.”


The rest of the squad consists of juniors Maddie Sysol, Dayna Scapati and Sam Sikora; sophomore Carly Brunke; and freshmen Kamryn Borden and Bailey Laurence.


“We knew once the preseason got going that we would take our lumps this season,” Millar said. “But, hopefully, this group of girls will work together, get better and all come back next year. We just need to develop a few more vocal leaders on the field, and we should be moving in a more positive direction soon.”


— David Biggy


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