Stafford Leader

Southern Regional Girls Lacrosse Fields Explosive Offense

Apr 12, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy On a Southern Regional girls lacrosse team with an experienced and explosive offensive unit, senior Holly Yannacone is one of several options for scoring goals.

A year ago, Southern Regional girls lacrosse was developing its offense around younger players, and the defense had the more experienced crew. This spring, things have flipped a bit. The Rams are stronger in the offensive half of the field and will need some young players to fill a void left behind on defense by graduated players.

“We have the core of our offensive players back, and we need to rebuild on our defensive end this year,” said coach Lori Johnson. “We’re really anticipating that our newcomers and younger players will step up and fill the big shoes on defense that we lost.”

Well, so far, so good. As of April 8, following a 16-6 bruising of Shore Conference Class A South rival Jackson Memorial, the Rams are off to a 6-0 start and their offense has put up big numbers, scoring in double digits in all six contests.

Now the question is whether the Southern offense can keep plowing down opposing defenses while the young defensive unit gains experience. That will all be determined during the next month or so, but it seems the Rams are very much on the way up.

Leading the attack this season are seniors Holly Yannacone, Colleen Mason – both of whom recorded lots of goals last spring – and Carmella Hall, while juniors Maitland Demand, Alex Mattner and Erika Barbera have returned to bolster the midfield, and junior Ava Ruff is the lone returning player to the defense.

Beyond that solid seven, the Rams have depth and talent but little to no varsity experience. Senior goaltender Kyleigh Bell will get the nod to start in most games, while classmate Arianna DeFazio should see some time on defense. In the midfield, junior Abbey Malandro is among the starting crew, with classmates Olivia Murawski and Samantha Zarillo likely playing roles in the midfield and on defense, respectively. Madison Caputo is expected to be the Rams’ No. 2 goaltender.

All the sophomores are new to the varsity squad, and defender Lauren Sauer and midfielder/attacker Kacey Kubarewicz likely will play significant roles as starters this spring, while attacker Emily Irwin, midfielder Kaitlyn O’Boyle and defender Hope Maugeri will add depth in their part of the field.

All three freshmen – attacker Rylee Johnson and midfielders/defenders Casey McBride and Shaelin Cassidy – are part of the youth movement and will play significant roles this spring, primarily as starters on most occasions.

After starting the season with a 10-9 win over Lacey on March 27, followed by a 19-9 drubbing of Point Pleasant Borough two days later, the Rams haven’t scored fewer than 16 goals per game and have won by 10 or more.

During a 16-5 win over Long Branch on March 30, Mason and Johnson each had four goals and an assist, while Yannacone delivered on three goals, and Malandro and Kubarewicz each scored twice. Demand added a goal, while Barbera and Irwin each gave out an assist. Caputo made nine saves in goal.

In Southern’s 17-7 win over Marlboro on April 3, Bell made six saves behind the defense, while the offense was led by Yannacone’s six goals and four assists and Mason’s five goals and two assists. Hall handed out three assists, and Johnson tallied a trio of goals and a pair of assists.

The next day in a 16-6 victory over division foe Brick, Mason led the way with six goals and four assists, while Johnson and Demand each scored three times, Kubarewicz added two goals, and Yannacone delivered a goal and four assists. Bell made nine saves.

David Biggy

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