New coach leads Summit girls lacrosse squad anchored by senior goalie
Tigers open season Saturday at home vs. Battle Mountain
The Summit High School varsity girls lacrosse team will play an intense, aggressive style in its first year under head coach Samantha Lonsway.
The Maryland native took over the program ahead of the 2020 season that was ultimately canceled. With the 2021 team, Lonsway will coach a mixture of younger girls she’s previously coached with the Summit Stix club and more veteran players who’ve taken to the coach’s focus on fundamentals and emphasis on having fun.
“Most of us haven’t touched our stick much since the pandemic ended our last season,” senior midfielder Angel LeBaron said. “Coach Sam is great at giving everyone a chance at everything.”
Lonsway will lead the Tigers in their season opener at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 8, vs. Battle Mountain after coaching the Tigers junior varsity two years ago. In Summit, Lonsway has also coached club teams and led camps attended by 10 current Tigers varsity players.
Before relocating to Summit, Lonsway grew up playing the sport in lacrosse-loving Maryland. When she saw Summit County didn’t have the same volume of lacrosse, she set out to increase programming for local players.
Though this is LeBaron’s first time working with Lonsway, she thinks the coach has done a great job leading Summit into an uncertain season.
“I want all of my team to have a great and fun season since last year was taken away from us,” LeBaron said. “It’s harder this year with many new girls, which are the sophomores and freshman because they did not have a season last year. But they seem to be doing very good and are determined to do their best. I want to leave my last season feeling confident in the upcoming years for the girls to do even better.”
LeBaron is one of the senior leaders Lonsway will lean on in her first year as coach. Behind LeBaron’s vocal leadership at the center of the pitch, Lonsway said senior defender Kalee Padilla is a proven force as both a defender and role model for other Tigers. Padilla will be joined in the Tigers defense by juniors Avey Riberdy and Caroline Fischer, one of many current Tigers Lonsway is familiar with.
• May 8 vs. Battle Mountain, 11 a.m.
• May 11 vs. Eagle Valley, 5:30 p.m.
• May 13 at Roaring Fork, 5:30 p.m.
• May 18 at Eagle Valley, 5:30 p.m.
• May 20 at Aspen, 4:30 p.m.
• May 25 vs. Steamboat Springs, 5:30 p.m.
• May 27 at Battle Mountain, 5:30 p.m.
• June 3 vs. Aspen, 5:30 p.m.
• June 5 at Steamboat Springs, 11 a.m.
• June 11 vs. Roaring Fork, 5 p.m.
• June 19: first round of state playoff
In net, Summit will go with senior Sydney Mullins, who came out for the team last year in what would have been her rookie campaign with Summit. Mullins brings a wealth of goaltending experience to the team, including playing for Lonsway with the 10th Mountain Lacrosse club.
“I think she will help us win games this year,” Lonsway said.
Mullins, LeBaron and Padilla are the only three seniors on the Tigers team this year. Lonsway said the majority of the seniors opted not to play in the late, extended season — which will go a few weeks after school ends — because they worried a COVID-19 quarantine could prevent them from attending graduation.
“So my goal for these three seniors this year is to create memories,” Lonsway said.
Joining LeBaron in the midfield will be talented freshman Ella Rader, a player new to Summit who Lonsway has not coached before. Lonsway said Rader has potential to be one of the team’s leading goal scorers.
Lonsway said the Tigers will play with speed and endurance in the midfield, a notion LeBaron supports.
“We run and sprint every practice to keep us in shape for the games,” LeBaron said. “We have gotten used to it, and it will help us stay ahead of the other teams and stay pushing through. … We’ve also gotten very good at communicating with each other. I’ve noticed the improvement already since we have to be loud to yell through our masks and mouth guards.”
Lonsway said other midfield contributors will include sophomore Catherine Costello, sophomore Logan Reid, junior Taylor Tullio and junior Millie Carleton — all players Lonsway has coached previously.
Up in the attack, sophomore Lindsay Davis and freshman Chloe Nicholds will lead the way. Lonsway said Carleton also might contribute to an attacking group that is accurate with their shots on net.
“This season will be about working well together and meshing well together and trying to find each other’s strengths — finding the right spot for all of the girls,” Lonsway said.
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