Coming off a losing record a year ago, the girls lacrosse team opened the season with a 16-0 win over Maynard Jackson. Last season, the team finished 6-7, going 2-3 at home and 4-4 on the road.
Grady is rebuilding after nine members of its starting lineup, including captains Kate Weatherby and Grace Dines, graduated. Dines now plays lacrosse at Virginia Commonwealth University.
“With the team having more girls with better stick skills, we are looking at possible playoff apperances this year,” said coach Martha Jones.
New captains this season are senior Frances Christopher and junior Jordan Killenberg. The team improved its offensive production from the 2015 season to last season, scoring 161 goals in 13 games, averaging 12 goals a game.
“This team has a lot of heart, and I’m looking forward to an exciting season,” Christopher said.
Assistant volunteer coach Julianne Green has helped improve the team’s fitness level. From the beginning of preseason conditioning, Green aimed to get athletes running a mile in under eight minutes, along with two 300-meter suicides under 80 seconds with a 1-minute break in between. Throughout the season players will be timed on these to show improvment. Prospective athletes had to meet those performance levels just to be considered for the varsity team.
With the increase in rigorous work and requirements, some players from the past few seasons have quit, leaving the team with no subs for junior varsity because players can’t play down from the varsity team. The varsity squad is limited to a small number of juniors and seniors. The lack of substitutes requires a greater fitness level for the athletes.
“This conditioning will really help us especially since we lost a lot of players this season,” sophomore Emma Krasinski said. “It will also strengthen our endurance so we don’t burn out in the first half of our games.”
Green said the team has also concentrated on fundamentals, including plays and drills.
“This season we will be focusing on strengthening our team play,” Green said. “We are going to create really smart and dependable offensive and defensive units.”