Life is fragile.
Less than a week into the 2010 lacrosse season, tragedy struck the SOL community when Plymouth Whitemarsh senior Denise Cotteta lost her life as the result of injuries sustained after she was struck by a car on March 28.
“It makes you realize that life is short,” 2009 PW grad Megan Piotrowicz said as she watched her former teammates take the field on Monday afternoon for their first game since Cotteta’s death when the Colonials faced Pottstown in a non-league contest.
Teammates and coaches honored Cotteta by wearing black wristbands with the senior attack player’s uniform number 3 emblazoned in hot pink, her favorite color. Her initials are also on the front of their jerseys.
Not that they will need any reminders to remember a player whose love of life was contagious.
“She was a girl who always had a smile,” senior co-captain Caitlin Mundy said. “She put everything out on the field when she came to play, and she did everything for everyone.
“She’s experienced more in her 17 years than some do in an 80-year lifetime. She had no fears and no boundaries.”
To read the complete tribute to Cotteta posted on the site, click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/content/cotteta-lived-life-fullest
The Springfield lacrosse team will be hosting an eight-team benefit tournament at its 9th Annual Lacrosse-A-Thon on Saturday, April 24. The tournament will benefit the Deb MacFarland-Corrigan Memorial Fund.
Four SOL teams – Springfield, Hatboro-Horsham, Central Bucks South and Cheltenham – will participate in the tournament, which will also include Gwynedd Mercy Academy, Penn Wood, Mount St. Joseph’s and Lower Merion.
MacFarland-Corrigan died in 2002 due to Hodgkins Lymphoma. She was a student-athlete at Springfield who later returned to teach at Erdenheim Elementary and to coach middle school lacrosse at Springfield.
The tournament will raise money for the Debbie MacFarland-Corrigan Memorial Fund, which was established to support educational opportunities at Erdenheim Elementary. Some of the funds will also go towards Springfield’s program.
Games will be played in the stadium as well as the field along Paper Mill Road, beginning at 9 a.m. with the final game scheduled to be held at 2 p.m.
The snack bar will be open selling breakfast and lunch as well as an assortment of snacks and beverages.
‘Life is a special gift, so embrace it.’
No one understands that better than Marie Schmucker, who made that statement in the video ‘Marie’s Mission: Walk for a Cure.’
Schmucker returned to the sidelines of the Hatboro-Horsham lacrosse team this spring after taking a medical leave the past two seasons as she battled breast cancer and then underwent reconstructive surgery.
The Hatters’ coach will be participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure, a 60-mile walk to raise funds for breast cancer research.
“I am walking this three-day walk for so many families out there,” Schmucker said in her video. “It is so much more than just walking 60 miles. It’s about celebrating survivorship and the women and men we have lost to breast cancer.
“It’s about raising awareness of the harshness and the reality of this disease. It’s about raising money, so we can eradicate this disease completely and not have this disease run people’s lives.
“I am taking a stand for this disease not to run mine. This disease is nothing but a big bully. It tries to steal your faith, your courage, your strength, but it picked the wrong person to bully.”
A Beef-N-Beer fundraiser to support this cause will be held May 7 at the Knights of Columbus in Glenside. Tickets are $30 each for the event, which begins at 8 p.m. and continues until midnight
To view Marie’s video or to obtain additional information about attending the fundraiser, click on the following link: http://www.hhlax.com/mariesmission.html
It was a devastating beginning for Kate Cooper and her Abington teammates when the senior star – bound for Lehigh University – went down with a season-ending knee injury in the Ghosts’ scrimmage against Boyertown.
That was followed by a decisive 14-6 loss to Upper Dublin in the Ghosts’ season opener, but after the Ghosts rebounded to earn a 15-14 OT win over Bayard Rustin on Tuesday, coach Julie Martinez is hoping there are some parallels between this year and last year.
“We beat Upper Dublin last year by 10 goals (15-5), and they beat us this year by eight goals,” the Ghosts’ coach said. “Upper Dublin had a phenomenal season last year.
“I think it was good for us to start out early with a wake-up call, a big old slice of humble pie. After we lost to Upper Dublin, the girls called a practice that Saturday and Sunday. They don’t want to feel that embarrassment again.”
The Ghosts’ certainly did Martinez proud with their gutsy win over Rustin.
“Sometimes where there’s not skill, there definitely was the will,” the Ghosts’ coach said. “They fought.”
Each game, according to Martinez, will be a war this season, a dramatic change from last season when everything came easily for the Ghosts.
“When you expect everything and think you deserve everything, there’s not as much satisfaction because it’s expected,” she said. “Our win over Rustin was a hard-fought battle, and they won.”
The defending conference champion Ghosts are still the team to beat in the National Conference until someone proves otherwise.
North Penn doesn’t rebuild; the Maidens simply reload.
Consider only that the Maidens lost nine seniors from last year’s conference championship squad but haven’t missed a beat, notching impressive wins over Boyertown and Ridley to open the 2010 campaign.
“In our program, we kind of set the tone that we might have starters and we might have upperclassmen, but everybody has to be ready to play at all times,” coach Jami Wilus said. “At times, I think our practices are more intense than our games at some points in the season.
“These kids compete at practice, do a lot of work in the offseason, and they have come together nicely, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
It’s easy to spot to big guns on a Maiden squad loaded with talent, but one of the players who flies under the radar but has been a catalyst in the season’s early weeks is Kaitlin Colbridge.
Last year, the senior defensive standout gave glimpses of things to come when she held Radnor’s Under Armour All-American Steph Ellis to just two goals in a state playoff game. She went on to accept a scholarship to play lacrosse at LaSalle University.
“She was a two-sport athlete, playing both field hockey and lacrosse, and now that her focus is on lacrosse, she has really stepped up,” Wilus said. “She’s so fast that she eliminates a lot of people as she goes down the field in transition.
“As a defender, you can match her up with anyone because she’s quick, but she’s also strong, and she has great desire back there. She loves playing defense, which I think is really hard to find.”
While some coaches might choose to use their lesser skilled players on the defensive end, Wilus isn’t of that mindset.
“Our defense is fast and aggressive,” the Maidens’ coach said. “On attack, you need to have a nose for the goal, but I look to put some of our better athletes on defense because that sets the tone for the game.
“Obviously, the draw control, in my mind, is the most important part of the lacrosse game, but when you’re playing defense, you have to get the ball out of the defensive end. Kaitlin being fast and a great athlete – she started off in the midfield, and she can still play midfield, but I think as a defender, she can neutralize some of the really quick offensive players many teams have.”
The strategy of establishing a strong and fast defense has paid dividends as the Maidens are not only a force in the SOL but in the district as well.
“We don’t put everyone on the offensive end because you need to play defense against a lot of those teams because they’re very skilled,” Wilus said.
Not surprisingly, although the faces have changed, the goals remain the same for the Maidens.
“The first thing is to get better every day, especially with a new group,” Wilus said. “They need to focus not only on individual skills but also growing as a team.
“Obviously, we want to win the league championship again. That’s our number one priority and then hopefully make it back into the district and state playoffs and go a little bit further than we did last year.
“They got a little taste of what the state playoffs are like and playing some of those really good teams, but this isn’t last year’s team. We need to keep reminding them – they need to make their own mark, and they need to set the tone for their season. We can’t keep riding off of our season last year because that’s over and done with.”
Upper Dublin coach Dee Cross wasn’t sure what the season would hold for her team when – in addition to graduation losses – several players from last year’s team elected to not come out for the team.
The defending American Conference champs appear to have answered that question with a pair of stellar performances to open the season, beginning with a 14-8 win over Abington and following that with a 17-6 win over Springfield.
It’s no secret that that Amy and Kelly Cross have ignited the Flying Cardinals’ offense. The dangerous sister combo has combined to contribute 16 goals and 13 assists in in two games.
“I have watched them all year go out and practice on the turf when it’s freezing cold,” coach Dee Cross said. “They do everything together because they love to play, so they were ready for the season to start.
“It’s gratifying for me to see any player that is that dedicated and wants to better themselves, whether I’m related to them or not, and I was really happy to see that they showed what it means to work on things outside of the season. I’m really pleased to see their hard work paid off.”
One of the pleasant surprises has been the emergence of sophomore Michele DeVincent, who went from playing jayvee last year to earning a starting position this year. Although DeVincent is playing third man, her future could well be in the midfield.
“She’s showing a lot of promise,” Cross said. “She played club in the summer, and I noticed a big improvement.
“She just needs a little more maturing on the field, and I could see her becoming a major contributor this year.”
Wendy Laurent has cemented her position as the team’s starting goalie.
“As a junior, she still has a lot to learn, but she wants to get better, she’s worked hard, and she’s another one of those players I could be talking about at the end of the season and I’m hoping improves as every week goes on,” Cross said.
Cross admits that the bar has been raised since her team’s opening day win over Abington.
“Now we know what the girls are capable of – granted, Julie (Martinez) would be the first one to say that her team is inexperienced, and playing without Kate Cooper is a huge loss for them, but it’s still Abington, “ Cross said. “The girls had to get over that hurdle of playing against a team that has always beaten them.”
SOL’s Fab Five
- North Penn (2-0)
- Upper Dublin (2-0)
- Souderton (3-0)
- Council Rock North (2-0)
- Pennridge (4-0)