Girls soccer teams get ready for season

The Lynnfield High girls soccer team’s resume last fall was fairly impressive. The Pioneers won their league and reached the Division 3 North semifinals, where they lost to the eventual North champion, Newburyport.Despite the success, however, coach Mark Vermont is hoping for a better 2008 season.”Last year, we definitely struggled,” he said. “Because we won the Cape Ann League, we made it (the tournament), but our record was barely over .500 (it was 6-7-5 in the regular season, 8-8-5 overall).”Although he lost some key players from that team, including keeper Diana Trifletti, midfielder Lauren Anderson, forward Michelle Lee, defender Jessica Griffon, Emily Stivers and Devon Apt, Vermont is optimistic his returning players, with a year of seasoning behind them, will get the job done.”We had a pretty young team last year. We had four freshmen, maybe four or five sophomores and five or six juniors,” he said.Among his returnees is last year’s leading scorer, Jamie Harris, who finished with 25 goals and three assists. She was the CAL Small Player of the year and the team MVP.Defender Stephanie LaRosa was sidelined with a knee injury most of last year, but the senior is back and looking strong, Vermont said. Also back are senior midfielder Catherine Durant, senior midfielders Sara Janakas and Sam Harris, senior defender Nicole Crawford and senior forward Courtney Marsolais. Junior midfielders Mackenzie Dolbeare and Abby Tobin, junior defender Carolyn LaRosa and Jamie Harris have all been on varsity since they were freshmen.”You’re starting to see them mature as players,” Vermont said.Vermont said he also has some talented freshmen this year, including keeper Nareh Sahakian.”I’m excited that they’ve got more experience,” Vermont said about this year’s team. “Last year was a bit of a rebuilding year ? I think we have a little more depth than last year.”MARBLEHEADMarblehead High coach Sam Yawson is still making his cuts, but he’s also encouraged by the prospects this season.”We have a good team coming back,” he said.Last year the Magicians were racked with injuries, but things are looking up. Lizzie Whitehill, who missed most of the season, is back and is one of the captains along with senior defender Sarah Forward and Taylor Maag. Junior midfielders Mary Kerouac and Elizabeth Miller are also back. Miller, Yawson said, was a constant last year.”We had too many injuries last year,” Yawson said, adding that one of his main offensive threats, Juliet Munroe, missed half the season with a knee injury.Munroe has graduated and is now playing lacrosse in college. Jessica Sasso, who had 12-13 goals for the Magicians, is at Roger Williams, and Mandy James, who went out with an injury in the middle of the season, is now at Quinnipiac. Forward also suffered an injury last year.If there was a silver lining to be found last year, it was that all the injuries made it possible for some younger players to gain experience and Yawson’s hoping that will pay off. This year’s group includes 13 players who started at various times.”We have a bunch of young kids who are ready to step in,” he said.Despite all the injuries, Marblehead finished 8-8-2 last year. The Magicians open against Saugus at Saugus a week from Friday.

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