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Experienced girls lacrosse team looks to take the next step

By Lauren Read
Observer correspondent

Two years ago, the Champlain
Valley Union High School girls
lacrosse team took its first step
toward the top of Division I.
The Redhawks fell to Mount Anthony
in the state semifinals. It was
the first semifinal appearance in 10
years for CVU, and the program
felt a sense of accomplishment.
“It was icing on the cake that we
got to the semifinals,” CVU coach
Tucker Pierson said. “That was a
huge jump for us.”
Last season, the program took
another step, again falling to the
Patriots in the semifinals, but this
time there was disappointment.
This year, the Redhawks are
hoping to take yet another step, determined
to advance past the semis
and into the championship game.
“They are here and pushing themselves
to work harder and play better,”
Pierson said. “They are ready
to go. I think they think a state
championship is a realistic goal.”
The team’s experience in the
midfield and on the attack will
pace the Redhawks, who are led
by senior captains Becca Provost
and Lydia Maitland.
“We are going to be a fast team,”
Pierson said. “(Provost and Maitland)
know the game well enough
that they can run it on the field. I
am really looking forward to them
stepping up.”
The team’s other captain, Fiona
Love, and goaltender Ali Wainer
will provide stability on the back
end, as the group looks to work in a talented freshman class and adjust
to the finicky Vermont spring
conditions.
“I think it’s really important
getting everyone into positions
we are comfortable with, that just
takes time,” Maitland said. “It’s
important for us to get out and play
some games together.”
The team’s greatest strength,
though, is probably its experience.
With 12 seniors and juniors, the
Redhawks will field a group that
has played a lot of games together
and walks into this season knowing
they can beat the top teams and go
deep in the postseason.
“I am hoping to see the drive we
had last year,” Provost said. “We
have a lot of the same people as
last year, and we have some good
freshmen. I think it will be a shock
how good our freshmen will be
this year.”
In addition, CVU has a wealth of
championship game appearances,
just not in lacrosse.
“We have two championship
soccer players, we have some field
hockey finalists, the downhill
champion in skiing, gymnastics
state champs,” Pierson said. “We
have so many cross-sport athletes.
We are competitive.”
On top of that, CVU has Pierson,
who in her third year as head
coach is finding her stride with the
Redhawks.
“I think just the consistency
of having her for the last three
years (has helped). She has a lot of
experience coaching,” Maitland
said. “She has worked a lot on our
footwork and defending.
“I think that has really helped our
defense. We work more as a unit
offensively. She works hard to have
a great team environment.”
With such a solid group to work
with, a talented class of freshmen
and an experienced team taking
the field, Champlain Valley is
well positioned to continue to take
strides forward — and take aim at
a state title.