MARBLEHEAD — The Marblehead girls lacrosse team has plenty to be excited about as the Magicians gear up for a new season. Marblehead returns no shortage of experience and talent to this season’s roster, meaning the ingredients are there for another winning recipe.
“We’re excited with the young talent we have in the program,” Marblehead coach Annie Madden, entering her ninth season, said. “We have another group of seniors who are really great leaders on and off the field. They’ve taken the new players under their wings and shown them what it’s like to play lacrosse in Marblehead. The players and coaches are excited for the opportunity.”
Marblehead has a tough act to follow after a solid postseason run in 2018. The Magicians finished the regular season at 14-4 and earned the No. 2 seed in the Division 1 North state tournament (it was Marblehead’s first season in Division 1). Marblehead defeated Melrose and Masconomet before falling to Reading in the sectional semifinal.
“We had a lot of talent with a lot of leadership from our senior class who spent four years on varsity and really proved to everyone what hard work can do,” Madden said.
Although the Magicians graduated seven members of last spring’s roster, they return five experienced seniors in 2019.
Returning to the mix are midfielders Grace Arthur and Lydia Bongiorno.
“They’re both phenomenal leaders,” Madden said of her senior midfielders. “They’re going to take charge both offensively and defensively for us this year.”
Sara Campbell, an attacker, also returns for her senior campaign.
“Sara’s in shape and ready to step up to fill some shoes from last year’s seniors,” Madden said.
Senior defender Amanda Schillinger will lead Marblehead’s defense.
“Amanda has taken over in the defensive end,” Schillinger said. “She’s helping fill some of those gaps from our leaders from last year. She really has shown that she’s here to play.”
Defender Annie Migliore’s the fifth senior returner. Migliore’s sidelined with a torn ACL, an injury she suffered during the offseason. Although she can’t help her teammates by playing, Migliore’s ready and willing to bring her leadership through vocal support.
“Annie’s just as valuable to us on the sidelines as she was on the field,” Madden said. “She helps keep the morale and helps the entire program understand what it’s like to be a part of this team.”
Aside from the returning seniors, Marblehead also carries a core of talented underclassmen who’ve left a positive impression on Madden through the first week of practice.
“I feel really positive about this lacrosse season,” Madden said. “I know we have the right girls in the right places. Everyone’s here to work hard and ready to make a difference, individually and as a team.”
Madden foresees a competitive Northeastern Conference, per usual. With plenty of state tournament contenders in the conference, Marblehead will be tested. Among the NEC teams who qualified for the postseason last year were Beverly, Gloucester, Peabody, Revere, Swampscott and Winthrop.
“The NEC just gets better every single year,” Madden said. “The competition gets stronger. Girls lacrosse on the North Shore’s improving every year. We’re not taking anything for granted. We’ll work hard for everything during the season. Every game, every minute. We have to make sure we’re in the right position to put ourselves in the right place to win.
“We have a tough schedule,” Madden said. “However, it’s preparing us to hopefully play in the state tournament in Division 1 and continue building our program, making it stronger every day.”
Marblehead opens the season Friday afternoon (4) when the Magicians host Woburn in a non-conference game.
“Everyone’s very excited,” Madden said. “They’re excited to see all our hard work during the offseason come together Friday. Woburn’s always a tough opponent for us. It’s a great opening game.”