Ireton girls lacrosse team hopes to hold on to championship trophy

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The Bishop Ireton girls' lacrosse program is gearing up for yet another highly anticipated season following their VISAA and WCAC championship wins in 2014. A new year brings new opportunities and another chance to fill the trophy cases at Ireton. After a magical run during the playoffs last May, the Cardinals have a target on their backs. They have gone from being the hunters to the hunted. While every team they play will be going after them, they are ready to handle their business on the field.

"There is definitely more pressure this year," said senior Christine Macey. "We cannot relax and expect to win again without working hard. Every team wants to beat us since we won both WCAC and VISAA championships last year. We have to work twice as hard because the target is on our back. 'Not satisfied' is our motto this year because we want to win again."

Preparations for the season started in late February, but the players practice, work out and play on club teams all year long. The girls come to workouts hours before school starts and run sprints before the sun even breaks through the clouds. This team is highly motivated to prove that last season was not a fluke and that the Ireton program is here to stay. Led by seniors Charlotte Sofield, Kelly Mathews, Kaitlin Luzik and Natalie Irwin (all playing Division I lacrosse next year), the team is very savvy and can handle the pressure of big games. Coached by Rick Sofield, the Cardinal team has a bond that goes deeper than being just teammates; they are like sisters. Playing as a family has led to success on and off the field.

"We have great talent coming into BI each year," said Macey. " This means it is harder to make varsity. So, we have what we call our 'bubble' players who are in between varsity and junior varsity including several freshmen. These girls practice and travel with us, and are a vital part of the team. This way the freshmen are prepared to play varsity when the upperclassmen leave.

"To win the WCAC and VISAA championships is always the goal," Macey said. "But, we also try to better ourselves by playing the hardest teams we can find. So another goal would be to have a better record than last year. We are all very excited for the season and I cannot wait to play with my girls for one last season."

The energy in the air at Ireton is one of determination and teamwork. Every team member strives to help in any way they can. With high expectations, the student body loves to cheer on their nationally ranked girls.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015