This is Nicole Beauford's first full year on the job as head coach of the Malverne/East Rockaway Varsity Girls Lacrosse team, and to say she is excited about the start of the new season would be an understatement.
"We are looking forward to a great season," Beauford told Patch. "We have 12 players from last year returning, including six of our seniors."
Beauford has plenty of experience under her belt, serving as assistant coach on the team for four years. Last year would have been her first full year as head coach, but she left early on maternity leave.
Assistant Coach Kim Rossi had replaced her and will be assisting the team in the this season too.
The returning seniors include cousins Alexa Germany and Sydney Johnson, who will bring their speed and agility to the varsity team for a fourth year.
"They will be a force to be reckoned with on offense and will keep the opposing teams defense guessing with their moves to the cage," said Beauford.
Junior Kaitlin Robinson and sophomore Stefani Ortiz will also be weapons on the offense, while Danielle Hinds, Nikki Roeill, Brittany Willis and returning sophomore Taylor Cussen will provide the speed and hustle needed in the midfield. Newcomers to this position include Shannon Cummings, Rasheeda Mendenhall and Aaliyah Smith.
The defense will be led by seniors Rebecca Alvarez, Toni Michaels, Jessica Rojas and Dyondra Wilson. Juniors Rebecca Canales and Cathy Doodnauth will also be down low to help on defense.The team will rely on junior Rosemary Vargas to defend the cage in the goal.
Sophomore Jessica Mele and freshman players Rebecca Ingenito and Halle Johnson will bring some youth to a senior and junior-laden squad.
"These new players will help to give us a very deep roster," said Beauford.
The team kicked off the season Tuesday with their first home game against Hewlett.
Stay with Patch to find out how the team fared and for more local sports coverage.