(March 20, 2015) The Stephen Decatur girls’ lacrosse team captured the 3A-2A East Regional title last year and advanced to the state semifinals where the Lady Seahawks were edged out by Oakdale, 10-8.
The 2014 team finished 14-3. Of the 19 players on Coach Bob Musitano’s roster this year, more than half are veterans. They want to get back to the semifinal game and earn a spot in the state championship match.
“This year our goal is going to the state championship. I think it’s definitely in our reach,” senior Payton VanKirk, a four-year varsity player, said. VanKirk has committed to play Division I lacrosse for University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Decatur’s girls’ soccer team won a Bayside Conference title in the fall, the first since 2003. The girls’ basketball team captured its first conference championship since 1977 a few weeks ago. VanKirk, her sister, Lexie, a sophomore, and seniors Jillian Petito and Ally Beck played for both teams. The girls, now members of the lacrosse team, are eyeing a third conference title for the year.
“I think it would be awesome to get a Bayside championship in three sports this year,” Beck, a four-year member of the team, said. She will play lacrosse for St. Joseph’s University.
“It’s going to take a lot of heart and just good energy and everyone ready to give all they have,” she said.
As a veteran, Beck will run the Decatur defensive line this season.
“I’m one of the older ones on the defensive side and we have a really good keeper [Petito],” she said. “We graduated some girls [on defense] and we also have some injuries. I can help the other girls by teaching them all that I’ve learned [and] telling them to step up and be confident … We have a lot of good athletes and a lot of talent, so we just need to bring it together.”
Joining Petito, who is headed to play lacrosse for Division I Mount St. Mary’s, and Beck in the backfield will be newcomers Erin Smith, a junior, and sophomores Jillian Mitrecic and Victoria Kerkovich. Senior Jenna Leitgeb is currently rehabbing her knee after surgery this past fall, following an injury during the soccer season.
Sophomores Rachel Florek and Sara Mitrecic both saw some time in goal last season and they will play in the cage again this year.
Returning in the midfield are the VanKirks and juniors Peyton Townsend and Elle Bargar. Joining them will be sophomore Christina Romano and senior Jordan Klebe (midfield/attack), who has committed to Kutztown University.
“The midfield looks like it’s going to be strong,” said Musitano, coach of the Seahawks for 12 seasons. “Games are won in the midfield. We have strong, fast players who have been playing together for a long time.”
Leading the attack will be sophomore Brigitte Ardis and senior Blair Yesko, who is headed to Sacred Heart to play lacrosse. Sophomore Claire Porter will also take the field on attack.
“We’re young, but the talent is there. We have a lot of sophomores and some of them will start this year,” Musitano said. “We’ll see how this young team responds. They’re raw and they need to learn how to play together.”
The Seahawks have a tougher schedule this year. Instead of playing each Bayside Conference team twice, they will only competed against each once.
Decatur has added a few out-of-conference opponents to its schedule.
“In the past, we’ve breezed through the Bayside then we have tough teams in the postseason. We’re hoping our tougher schedule will help us in the postseason,” Payton VanKirk said. “I think everyone’s energy is really good and it just puts a positive perspective on the season. Our team chemistry right now is looking really good. We’re just excited about that and we’re optimistic about the season.”
March 23: Saints Peter & Paul,
5:30 p.m. (H)
March 26: Kent Island, 5:30 p.m. (A)
April 8: Easton, 5:30 p.m. (A)
April 10: North Caroline, 4 p.m. (H)
April 15: Kent County, 4 p.m. (H)
April 17: Queen Anne’s, 5:30 p.m. (A)
April 20: Cape Henlopen, 5:30 p.m. (H)
April 22: Cambridge, 5:30 p.m. (H)
April 24: Wicomico, 5 p.m. (A)
April 27: Worcester Prep, 4 p.m. (A)
April 29: Bennett, 5:30 p.m. (H)
May 1: Parkside, 4 p.m. (A)