Whether it’s the jump from JV to varsity or high school to college, the biggest adjustment is often cited as the speed of the game. Everything quickens as the level of competition increases.
The Riverhead girls lacrosse team felt that last year in the program’s first year as a varsity team. After two years of fielding a junior varsity team, the Blue Waves made the jump last year to join what is one of the most popular sports on Long Island for girls.
Riverhead coach Rich D’Alsace said the players learned about the pressure of playing at the varsity level last year.
“It’s more intense, a faster moving game, which we kind of had to feel our way through last year,” he said. “A lot of double teams, triple teams, different defenses we hadn’t seen before that we’re working on. The speed of the game was the biggest change we went through.”
The Blue Waves struggled to tally wins last year, as would be expected for a first-year team. The good news for the Blue Waves is they return nearly all their players from last year, who come in more seasoned and with a better understanding of what kind of competition lies ahead.
The Blue Waves (3-12 last season) also picked up a transfer student from St. Anthony’s, who should help solidify the midfield. Junior Sabina Dorr, who’s from Riverhead and knows many of the girls already, has played with the Blue Waves during winter leagues and on travel teams, D’Alsace said.
Dorr recently gave a verbal commitment to play lacrosse at St. Francis University. Students cannot formally sign with a college until their senior year.
“She’s definitely a big plus for us so we’re happy to have her,” D’Alsace said.
Sophomore Carolyn Carrera returns on the midfield and will be key on draws for the Blue Waves.
“She’s a very skilled player,” D’Alsace said. “She’s been playing for a long time.”
On defense the Blue Waves return two starters in seniors Emily Oruc and Sabrina Harris. Both players are aggressive and fast, D’Alsace said.
The Blue Waves return all their players on attack, led by senior Bethany Peters and junior Megan Conroy.
The Blue Waves will look to up the tempo this year and play more of a transition game.
“I feel like we can do well off the draw,” D’Alsace said. “We’re running a newer offense this year that is going to take a little time to build. It has a lot of motion within it. Hopefully that’s going to gel all our attackmen at the same time.”
The Blue Waves open the Division I season Friday at Commack.