WALL TOWNSHIP – There have been peaks and valleys for the Wall girls lacrosse team so far this season.
The Crimson Knights currently sit at 2-7 overall and at 2-4 in B North, which is good for fifth place in the eight-team division. But eighth-year head coach Bill Chiesi pointed out the girls have grown with each game this season.
“Our girls have continued to grow and improve over the course of the year and are making strides towards becoming a strong force again in the Shore Conference,” Chiesi said.
The Crimson Knights have played some close games early in the season that they were unable to close out. They lost to Colts Neck by three goals on Mar. 29, Shore Regional by one goal on Apr. 7, and Ocean Township by one goal on Apr. 14.
“We want the girls to be able to learn from that and then in the second half of the season, we are able to close those games out and get some wins under their belt,” Chiesi said.
Kerry Wren (a team-leading 19 goals, three assists) and Alexa Sirchio (16 goals, six assists) lead the Crimson Knights with 22 points. Junior Remi Reinhardt is a close second at 20 points (10 goals, a team-leading 10 assists). Junior Libby Graver has recorded 69 saves in her first year as the varsity starter.
“Libby is starting to really understand the position a lot better,” Chiesi said. “Starting from the Shore game, she really started to pick up her game. She has gotten a lot better at cutting off angles and taking shots away from people and she’s fearless in goal which is something you need. She’s not afraid of getting hit with the ball and doesn’t shy away from the contact. As she’s progressed, a lot of the girls have really gotten behind her and have more confidence, which also helps build our defense, too.”
Chiesi mentioned the team likes to distribute the ball and get everyone involved.
With a handful of seniors on this year’s squad, there are a lot of underclassmen playing valuable minutes. That experience is good for the team moving forward into the season and in the coming years.
“The combination of senior leadership that we have on this team, combined with some really good young players that we have coming up has been good and they’ve been gelling now as the season is progressing,” Chiesi said.
Chiesi mentioned Reinhardt and sophomore Riley Adam as varsity returners who have taken big steps this season and helped the younger players transition to the varsity level.
“Having them to help lead the charge and the enthusiasm that the young girls bring, you put it all together and we’re looking at coming out and having a strong second half to the season and hopefully get back into playoff contention,” Chiesi said.
Looking ahead to the remainder of the season, Wall will be seeing some familiar opponents that they saw already this season. They are hoping that familiarity will be beneficial the second time around.
“As we’re going into the second half of the season, we’re going to be seeing a lot of the same teams that we saw in the first half,” Chiesi said. “Our hope is that we learned from the mistakes we made earlier in the season. RBC beat us pretty well, but overall we’ve been very competitive with these teams. I think as these girls have gotten more experience and hopefully more confidence, I think they will be able to go into these games and be stronger against this tough competition, and pull out some wins along the way.”