The Canandaigua Academy girls lacrosse team put together another impressive season last spring as the Braves won Section 5 Class B and Western Regional championships. Coach Sue Ellis’ team made it all the way to the state championship game before losing to Section 8 powerhouse Garden City.
What makes Canandaigua’s run even more impressive: They did it with just one senior in the lineup, so the Braves will be back strong in 2013. The roster features 12 seniors, and more than half of them have received college athletic scholarships.
“We’ve been playing since second grade together, so obviously we have a good connection and play so well together,” said senior Dakotah Savitcheff, last year’s Daily Messenger Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year.
“It means we have the same potential to do as well or better this year,” Lauren D’Amore added. “We just need to capitalize on that.”
The Braves have a lot of firepower, offensively. Savitcheff finished last season with 80 goals and 25 assists, while fellow seniors Kendall D’Amore (52-25), her twin Lauren (50-22), Macy Marafioti and Jordan Johnson all can beat opposing goalies regularly.
“That’s where I feel very blessed — they can’t shut down one or two players,” Ellis said. “All seven girls are talented. No matter where I switch some girls around, I have multiple girls that can create opportunities and can find the back of the net.”
Seniors Janae Guy and Rachel Olson, along with juniors Dana Garbinski, Maddie Rice and Kristine Wallace are looking to lead Canandaigua’s defense. Seniors Amanda Yavorek, Devan Olschewske and junior Rebecca VanLaeken are all options in goal.
Both D’Amores, Marafioti, Savitcheff, Guy, Johnson and Yavorek are serving as the Braves’ captains.
Canandaigua defeated West Irondequoit, 14-7, in the Section 5 finals; Section 6’s Hamburg, 17-6, in the Western Regionals; and Section 1’s Fox Lane, 18-8, in the state semifinals. The Braves were tied with Garden City, 6-6, at halftime, but ended up losing 13-8. Ellis said Garden City was bigger, stronger and had more depth, but said it could’ve been different if they'd had another five or 10 minutes.
“We’re going to come back stronger,” Marafioti said. “This is our last year, so we really have to give it everything.”
“We have to leave it all on the field. No regrets,” Yavorek added.
The coach is making sure her girls take the season game by game and don’t get caught looking ahead. In addition to a tough Monroe County schedule, Canandaigua is set to face Section 3’s West Genesee, and Maryland schools McDonogh and C.M. Wright. McDonogh’s last loss came against Canandaigua in 2009.
“Ellis keeps telling us to make sure we don’t get complacent,” Kendall D’Amore said. “We’re working even harder to make sure we do our best and get back to states.”
Page 2 of 2 - Canandaigua opens the season at Corning East at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.