FALMOUTH – It hasn’t been the easiest season for the Nauset Regional High School’s girls lacrosse team.
The team’s head coach, Heather Stevens, had an idea that the team might experience some growing pains after a handful of seniors decided to opt out of playing after their entire junior season was canceled due to COVID-19.
Although there have been struggles — the Warriors fell to 0-8 following Thursday’s 16-2 loss at Falmouth — Stevens is optimistic about the future of the program, especially considering how much playing time Nauset’s underclassmen have received.
“The younger girls have been getting a lot of time,” Stevens said. “A lot of the freshmen and sophomores have been getting a lot of playing time, so I’m hoping that will benefit us in the future.”
Still, although the team hasn’t been able to capture a victory yet, it’s been enjoyable for the upperclassmen who did choose to return, especially senior co-captains Grace Santos and Rachel Bryant.
Bryant, a Brewster resident, admitted it’s been a little tricky getting used to so many new teammates. However, making those new connections has ultimately been a rewarding experience, according to the senior.
“It’s definitely been a challenging year with so many new faces and new players, but I think that’s kind of the fun of it — getting more people to love the sport the way we did all four years,” Bryant said. “It stinks that we got gypped of our year last year, but we’re definitely making the most of it this year.”
Santos lit up when asked about what it has been like sharing captain duties. The duo once admired the seniors when they were underclassmen, and now they’ve enjoyed the laurels of being the team’s eldest players.
“We waited four years for it,” Santos said. “We’ve made a lot of new friends with all of the young girls, which has been a really good time.”
Among the bright spots in Thursday’s loss was Julia Weiner, a junior from Harwich. Weiner scored both goals for the Warriors and was a constant, steady presence for the team’s attack.
Weiner credited the team’s group of captains — which also includes senior Layne McIntire, who Stevens said missed Thursday’s game due to injury — for making the season enjoyable. Despite experiencing some struggles on the field, the junior said the team maintains a positive outlook because of its captains.
“It’s been a tough year, but our captains have done a really good job of keeping us together and keeping us upbeat,” Weiner said. “I think people at school recognize that we’re so hyped. We’re always excited no matter what, so that’s good.”
Among the newcomers who have been thrown into the fire of varsity competition is sophomore goalie Alden Rogers, who Falmouth (2-4) peppered with shots throughout Thursday’s contest. Rogers surrendered 16 goals in defeat, though she did make multiple saves that even drew praise from the opposing spectators.
Stevens hopes all of the experience the young netminder gained this season will also make a difference down the road.
“I’m hoping that will pay off,” the coach said.
Even though the team has experienced challenges throughout its return to play, Weiner is confident that this year is the starting point of something special.
“We’re really going to grow,” she said. “I think in the next couple years it will be a big difference from this year.”
Email Brad Joyal at firstname.lastname@example.org