Poly Prep’s girls lacrosse team has a bull’s eye on its back and it’s something the team relishing.
The Blue Devils, who lost in the NYSAISAA finals last year to Riverdale, come into this season thinking they are the favorite. With the taste of defeat still fresh in their mouths, they know nothing will be easy, and are looking to fulfill their lofty expectations.
Zukauskas coaches a Poly Prep team that returns five seniors, three of which are core midfielders, with the other two playing attack. The Blue Devils also return their starting defense. Top to bottom, they have the experience that is critical for the pursuit of a championship.
Poly Prep's Jessica Dahldorf wants to lead her team to the NYSAISAA title.
“We have an incredible senior class,” Zukauskas said. “They’re up to the challenge that they face, and it’s critical to have them here.”
Zukauskas notes just how hungry her girls are for the championship, saying that the loss in the finals is still very fresh in their minds, and is a big driving force for the team.
“They’re still feeling that sting of losing last year,” Zukauskas said. “I’m glad they haven’t forgotten.”
One senior who wants to leave Poly Prep with a trophy is Jessica Dahldorf. The Northwestern recruit was named the The Post’s All-City girls lacrosse Player of the Year last season. She had an amazing 80 goals and 16 assists is joined by star midfielders Sam Domurat and Kayla Metelenis, both of whom are major goal scoring threats. Anna Lisa Westfield will be back in goal.
“She’s really accepting the challenge of being the best player in the city,” Zukauskas said.
Zukauskas calls Dahldorf the hardest worker she’s ever coached and stated that despite Dahldorf signing with Northwestern, she’s remained focused on Poly Prep and leading the Blue Devils.
“Our league is only getting better,” Zukauskas said. “By no means is this season going to be easy for us, but we know everyone is after us, and we’re going to give it our all.”
One team gunning for Poly Prep will be Fieldston, which struggled last year and was under .500 . Head coach Sara Gorman believes her team is stronger than last year, and much more seasoned.
“We bring back five seniors,” Gorman said. “They’re great leaders for our team out ther and I’m just trying to push everyone to the next level. “
One of those leaders, senior Annie Smith, will have the task of anchoring Fieldston’s defense. Smith and her fellow defensemen will aid junior goalie Sydney Bryant in keeping opponents off the scoreboard.
“She’s another year older,” Gorman said of Bryant. “She has the skills to get the job done, and she’s going to be great for us.”
On the offensive side, Fieldston’s sophomore Chloe Chasanoff leads the squad after producing numbers last season as a freshman. Gorman believes she will only improve this season after having a year of experience under her belt.
“Overall, we’re a better team across the board,” Gorman said. “I don’t know how far we can go, but we will definitely improve.
Over in the AAIS is Staten Island Academy, which looks to win its league after losing to Chapin by one goal in the championship game last season.
SIA has four seniors returning, all of which are four-year starters. They have Bridget O’Hara and Bethany Claps on defense, Gabby Tricorico as a midfielder and Erin Gibbons as an attacker.
Gibbons, who was named to the The Post’s All-City girls lacrosse first team, scored 55 goals and had 17 assists last year.
“We’re going to go out there and try to win our league,” coach Mike Bowler said. “We have an exciting mixture of youth and experience, so it should be a good season.”
Poly Prep, Blue Devils, Anni Zukauskas, Jessica Dahldorf, Zukauskas, Poly PrepвЂ™s girls lacrosse, NYSAISAA, Fieldston, Sara Gorman, Dahldorf