Veteran lacrosse coach Bob Slater has once again taken over leadership of the Londonderry High girls’ lacrosse program and, more specifically, the varsity team.
Slater is returning to the Lady Lancers’ lax fold for the third time – after two years away this time – to right the program’s ship after a 9-8 regular season during the 2014 campaign that saw the Londonderry team have assistant coach Meredith Jackes finish up for departed head coach Mike Boyle through the final several matches. Those games included a first-round tournament loss to the tough Exeter High Lady Blue Hawks.
Slater led his Lady Lancer teams to four consecutive Division I title matches, with three consecutive championship victories from 2009-11.
The coach and his charges headed down south to Orlando, Fla., recently to play some pre-season lax and see where they stand, and the results were pleasing, with the locals dropping only one decision.
And when he peruses his 2015 roster, Slater finds many skilled veterans. But whether or not the Lady Lancers will be able to climb back toward the top of the tough Division I ranks is very much a wait-and-see proposition.
Among the senior stalwarts are Mariah Eacrett (defense), Noelle Lambert (attack and co-captain), Rachel Stevens (defense and co-captain), Annika Skov (midfield), Chelsea Lewis (attack), Sarah Bell (attack), Jenna Conroy (defense), Michaela Kewley (goalie), Michelle Hennessey (middie), and Jackie Curtin (middie).
The returning juniors include Breda Holland (middie), Sarah Jackes (defense), Gabbi Morris (middie), Dominique Breault (middie), Jill McIntire (middie), and June Cranmer (middie), and the lone sophomore returnee is Sami Lecaroz (defense).
“We also have eight other players that have been selected to our varsity team that have great potential,” said Slater.
When asked to outline the keys to a successful 2015 campaign for his LHS bunch, Slater said, “It’s my first year back, so we are building one day at a time. We are working on a great conditioning program to stay healthy and strong. The girls are working extremely hard to learn the game and execute at a high level.”
Despite the fact that he has been gone from the LHS lax environment for several years, Slater knows that the likes of Souhegan and Pinkerton make Division I interesting at least and dangerous at most for a team looking for major success. But the returning mentor is intent on making sure his charges look past nobody.
“As I have always coached and prepared our team for one game at a time, I am expecting the competition in Division I to be extremely competitive across the board. And we will not take any team lightly,” he said.
The Lady Lancers are scheduled to start their 2015 campaign on April 17, away against Hollis-Brookline High, followed by a game the next day, April 18, at home against Manchester Central High School.