By Joan Harris

Hannah Evans plays defense, Nantucket girls lacrosse player cradles the ball – Photo by Maclaine Willett

The NHS girl’s lacrosse team is off to a triumphant start this spring, as varsity has a 5-2 record so far this season. In their season opener, they dominated Archbishop Williams, but unfortunately, they fell short in their second game to league domineers Barnstable in an intense 11-12 defeat. It wasn’t until their third game that the girls showcased their unwavering talent in an overpowering subjugation against Nauset Regional with a final score of 18-9. This victory set the stage for the subsequently fruitful season, with Bailey Lower serving as a standout athlete with an impressive effort consisting of 7 goals and 2 assists to secure the win.

The team was able to showcase the extent of their all around knowledge taught by head coach Jamie Lower in the season’s fourth game against Martha’s Vineyard. Two players in particular, Junior Evelyn Fey (2 goals) and Freshman Emerson Pekarcik (1 goal and 3 assists), led the charge allowing for the 15-5 victory.

Senior co-captain Reese Burns believes that the key to their outstanding progress thus far is the overall strength of both the offensive and defensive capabilities: “I think we have a super solid defense as well as offense. Something we can always work on is ignoring the scoreboard and playing our game.”

Additionally, a principal component of their success is in part due to the inspiring comradery and cohesiveness of the girls as a whole. Reese continued by praising the team’s chemistry: “I am so proud of how we have grown together, and our team dynamic and the trust we have in each other is exhibited on the field.”

The uncertainty of this unprecedented year was sure to cause some difficulties amongst the players, but even the late start and tribulations caused by the pandemic could not damage this outstanding team’s performance.

Reese said that despite the change in circumstances that the team faced, “I feel like at this point we were all kind of used to COVID and its impact on school athletics, so lacrosse didn’t feel remarkably different besides the fact that we had to wear masks. However, what stood out about lacrosse in particular was that we actually got to travel for games, which was so exciting.” Though spectators and participants wondered what kind of a hindrance COVID-19 was going to cause in the 2021 season, the Whalers have clearly not been affected and, with the recent mask lift, they show no signs of slowing down.

Photo by Christa Willett

This year, the team embraced a plentiful bunch of high-schoolers, with over 30 players currently participating. Overall, the large array of girls in the lacrosse program has been a welcoming change from previous seasons, with coach Jamie Lower instructing her largest group of athletes ever. Freshman center Bailey Lower continuously shines on the field and, at only 15, will most likely be a promising spearhead for the next three years. Junior goalie Mimi Belanger can be described as reliable, even under pressure, and has a total of 52 saves so far this season, peaking at a remarkable 21 during one single game. Under captains Reese Burns and Isabelle Congdon’s leadership, each and every player has proven to be a necessary contributor to the team.

The girl’s lacrosse team is likely to finish off the 2021 season with a respectable record, long list of accomplishments, and many athletes with a newfound love for the game of lacrosse. Although Reese, Isabelle, and select other teammates are leaving the program next year for collegiate (and various other) ventures, the prolific spread of skilled players will seemingly create a bright future for NHS girl’s lacrosse.

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