by Tom Utescher

At Springside School, the Lions’ lacrosse squad is undergoing a major makeover, with literally half of the athletes from the 2010 team now engaged in other pursuits.

Three Division I college recruits were among the seven seniors who graduated from the school last June. Out of the underclassmen on the 2010 roster, one has transferred out, and three are not playing lacrosse this spring. Presiding over the team’s fresh start is 1997 Springside grad Lydia Barber Imperiale, who is already familiar with the returning players after serving as the Lions’ assistant coach last spring.

Even so, she says, “I want to get to know the girls better, so we’re not taking a trip during spring break. We’ll be around here, and we have a number of games scheduled against non-league teams.”

The Lions’ 2011 team tri-captains are positioned at strategic points along the field. Seniors Annalise Davies and Hilary McDonnell play attack and goalie, respectively, and junior Libbie Maine is a midfielder. In the early going, Maine has been alternating taking center draws with sophomore Kitty Morrissey, Imperiale said.

Another junior, Ellie Stout, played first home much of the time last season, but this year she’s been moved a little farther out on the field at third home. Two other 11th-grade veterans, Erica Schneer and Casey Sullivan, are both defensive midfielders.

Morrissey had two classmates with her on varsity with her last year, Jennie Lukoff and Taylor Wrubel. Both play attack, with Lukoff up at a home position and Wrubel more oriented towards the midfield at a wing spot.

After playing her freshman year and then working as a team manager in 2010, junior Haley Lombardo is back out on the field, currently as third man on the defense. Several of her classmates are stepping up to varsity this spring, including defensive midfielder Angela Cascio and attacker Carly Schwartz. Yet another junior, Tasmin Lamb, is the JV goalie and the back-up to McDonnell on varsity.

There are almost as many sophomores as juniors on the team. In addition to veterans Lukoff, Morrissey and Wrubel, there are four varsity rookies: Olivia Corner, Vanessa Pierce, Maud Simms, and Meredith Spann. At this juncture, the lone freshman on the varsity roster is Alla Reist.

Longtime Lions assistant coach Jann Douple is back on the sidelines, and a new addition to the staff is 1996 Germantown Academy graduate Maura Narog, who will help out with the varsity and pilot the JV squad.

Coach Imperiale was pleased with the team’s first scrimmage last Tuesday, which took place at Abington Friends.

“They had some girls out sick,” she noted, “but we’ve been playing against our own JV for weeks and it was valuable for us just to see some new people on the other side of the field.”

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