Coach Connor credits the success of our Girls Lacrosse team this season to numerous factors. Coach Connor says, "the first factor being, the players really bought into the system of working hard and playing as a team. We didn’t have much time to prepare for the season as tryouts and practices began less than 2 weeks before our first game. We had 3 players join us the day after playing in the soccer state championship game, so that was just one practice with the team prior to our first game versus the state champion runner-up. Every day the team showed up and wanted to learn and get better."
Coach Connor pointed out that the girls also supported one another through tough times. It was a season filled with much adversity that the team was able to overcome, rather than let it be their downfall. "That only happened with leaning on one another as well as their deep faith that God will right the wrongs. The girls were warriors," says Coach Connor.
Every team says that they want to win a championship but not every team is willing to truly do what it takes. Our Girls Lacrosse team set out a goal, with belief in themselves, trust in their teammates & coaches, and knowing that Jesus was by their side to help them persevere.
The team mottos this year were:
The meaning behind these were, when Jesus is on your side and you do everything you can to succeed, He will find a way. And #RiseUp, no matter the mountain placed in front of you.
Injuries were among the many adversities our girls had to overcome. Some key players including Acacia and Jacinda Connor, as well as Brook Gabrisko, were out for a good portion of the season. While this was an obstacle for the team, it made the postseason run all the more impressive. Oftentimes, the coaching staff had to take the temperature of the team and see what they needed in that instance. Whether it was sitting in a circle and talking, having a meal together, going to a team mass or sharing a bible verse, they made sure to change things up. Coach Connor says, "I think the most successful teams learn how to adapt to what’s going on and the NDP girls lacrosse program did that to a T this season. "
Our seniors certainly made their mark on the program from day one. Many of them had been playing on varsity since their freshman year. Coach remarks that this was " a great group of young women who not only lead by example but also do so in the toughest of times. It’s not easy to stay positive with your head held high when the cards are stacked against you. But these seniors rallied the team and kept them close together by fostering a loving environment."
Some Remarks on from Coach Connor on her seniors:
Katie Baptiste - what a positive teammate. Katie embraced her role on the team and would get into games with such intensity. Oftentimes she was the spark that we needed. Whether it was being tough in the ride or moving the ball on attack. She played her part of the team so very well
Acacia Connor - the workhorse of the team. While Acacia could score at will, she always wanted to involve those around her which is the sign of a great teammate. She’s a true middie in that her stats are near the top in every category. She can take over a game when needed just like she did in the State championship. She wasn’t going to let that one get away from the Saints. What a joy to coach your daughter and I’m glad I had this opportunity to be with her during her senior year. To top it all off she was be named a USA Lacrosse All-American after being a 4x All-State Midfielder
Bella D’Aloia - positive vibes all the time, every day. I love how she consistently got better & better as the season went on and saved her best game for the last one. Bella was so hyped to be playing in the State Champ game. Her energy was felt by everyone. Such a joy to be around and create that winning mentality
Madi Felton - the silent assassin. Madi was so underrated and oftentimes overlooked by opponents. She would finish a game with 4 plus goals and game-changing ones at that. She took on new roles at the draw when we needed her to & wouldn’t just do it but excelled at it. I think there’s no denying her importance on the field. Named as an Arizona All-Star twice
Angelina Hook - what a firecracker. Ang stepped up this season and oftentimes had important matchups that we needed to neutralize. She was tough defensively but also used her speed to start our offense. I’m excited to see her play D1 lacrosse at the next level. She was twice named an All-State Player during her HS career
Liz Karlsson - forever the enthusiast. Liz was the mama bear on the team and made sure that everything was always set. Whether it was music, eye black or water, she was prepared. She was the same way on the field, commanding the defense to step up and play to their abilities. Super proud that she was the Jackie Pitt’s Award Winner as that shows her versatility as a student, athlete & someone heavily involved in the community. She was also named an Arizona All-Star several times throughout her career