ME Girls Lax Hungry for Success in 2024


One year after winning 14 games and making it to the MIAA Div. 4 Final Four against Ipswich, the Manchester Essex girls’ lacrosse team seems as hungry as ever to get the season underway and begin the journey again.

“This year we are starting with an intensity I have not seen in a while,” explains Manchester Essex girls’ lacrosse coach Nan Gorton.  “We were knocked out of the tournament last year in the semi-finals and I think we are all using that as motivation this year.  We want to go all the way.”

While that very successful team will miss the leadership and skill that Hadley Levendusky and Paige Garlitz took with them when they graduated last May, the Hornets otherwise return the remaining core of a team that tore through the playoffs in 2023.  That group of talented returnees is headed up by senior co-captains Ella Chafe and Mechi O’Neil.

“They lead by example, giving 100 percent effort every moment,” says Gorton.  “They raise the level of play of those around them, because they expect it. I can relate to them this way, so seeing this intensity on the field is fun.  The younger players are inspired by their talents, and that’s a good thing.”

Fellow seniors Lucy O’Flynn and Gabbi D’Andrea may not be captains, but their teammates will look to them for leadership.

“That is a hard position for a senior, and I am impressed by their ability to find ways to lead in their own way,” says Gorton.

Other familiar faces returning to make another postseason run are juniors Brigid Carovillano, Charlotte Crocker, Maggie Light, Aisling Twombly and Sylvie McCavanagh, as well as sophomores Harper Brooks, Teyah Fleming, Abby Kent and Laila Mears.

Star goaltender Carovillano is due for yet another outstanding season for the Hornets.

“It is no surprise to any team, as she has been a stand-out on our team for two years,” explains Gorton.  “She is headed to University of North Carolina in the fall of 2025, so this is a big honor for us to have her on our field every day.  I think the fact that she has committed and feels good about where she is in her journey, allows her to play with a sense of calm in the net.  I have already seen her joy in helping lead the younger players.  I like what I see so far in Brigid’s maturity.  She is a superstar athlete and I now am seeing a lot of strong leadership qualities in her as well.”

While there are quite a few returnees coming back this season, there is always room for younger players to make their mark, especially those with familiar last names.

“I have a few new faces this season, and I am always excited to see how they bring energy and enthusiasm to the team,” says Gorton.  “Shields Edgerton is a standout freshman, following in her sisters’ footsteps.  Both of her older sisters were impact players for Manchester Essex.  She will bring her own style, but I am impressed so far.”

Of course, it’s still early.  The season begins with home games against Marblehead (April 1) and Georgetown (April 2), followed by an away game against Ipswich on April 5.   But the elements are all there for another strong season and run deep into the postseason for the ME girls’ lacrosse team.

“Well, we just finished the first week, so I am not sure we really know exactly what we do well,” says Gorton.  “We will have depth in each position, I know that.  We have multiple players who can play anywhere on the field.  I think we will have less set positions and more opportunities to change up what we are doing in response to what we see from the other side.  My instinct also tells me that we will be a force on ground balls.  I think this year’s team is tough, aggressive and gritty.  I like our chances with those attributes.”