Student-athletes, coaches and fans alike from across the state are holding onto hope that the spring high school sports season will proceed in some form this year.
For many reasons, including the talent on the roster, the idea of camaraderie, and the prospect of further success, count the Lower Cape May High School girls lacrosse program among those groups that would like to compete.
Last season, the Tigers posted an impressive 16-5 record and advanced the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II Sectional Tournament semifinals, where they lost to Haddonfield, the eventual champion. Key returning players with varsity experience include Carina Raymond (senior, attack, 28 goals and 26 assists in 2019), Maya Critchfield (senior, midfield, 100 career goal scorer, two-time First Team All-Cape Atlantic League), Eden Brojakowski (senior, defender, First Team All-CAL in 2019), Julianna McClain (senior, defender), Emma Golden (senior), Sabrina Faulkner (sophomore, midfield, First Team All-CAL, 56 goals and 30 assists in 2019), Madi Schiffbauer (sophomore, midfield, 30 goals and 11 assists in 2019), Jenna O’Neill (sophomore, midfield), Julia Gibson (sophomore, 22 goals and 12 assists in 2019) and Maggie Boyle (sophomore, 18 goals and six assists in 2019).
Ally Walsh is also a promising freshman goalie for Lower Cape May.
“Maya Critchfield, who was a captain her junior season, will be returning after her ACL surgery,’’ head coach JoAnn McLaughlin said. “She is not cleared to play as a field player but has stepped up and has been cleared to step into the goal cage as another goalie for us. "She was an amazing captain during her junior campaign and continued to help coach our team from the sideline, even after her injury. She played a huge role in why our 2019 was such a huge success, even though she was not on the field.
“Our defense will be led by seniors Eden Brojakowski and Julianna McClain. Both are four-year varsity starters and have been tremendous leaders on and off the field.
"Offensively we are looking to senior Carina Raymond, who is returning after her second ACL injury. Throughout both injuries, she continued to play a huge role as a leader and motivator for our team. Senior Emma Golden has worked extremely hard this offseason. She played a major role in getting the girls positive and dedicated to continue working out throughout the winter.’’
If the season happens, the Tigers are looking to mirror 2019's success and hopefully return to the sectional tournament.
“We are going to continue to build off our historic 2019 season,’’ McLaughlin said. “The group of 14 seniors we have this year are very special. Most have been with our program since freshman year. Three of them are returning from ACL injuries.
"This senior group is one of the most hard-working and positive classes. Our sophomore class also showed huge success when they were freshmen. As a team, we will continue to work hard and get better every single day.’’