Perfect Start for ME Girls Lacrosse


It’s been a fast start to the season for the Manchester Essex girls’ lacrosse team, and the Hornets haven’t let up on the gas since.

It began with a 12-4 steamrolling of non-conference foe Marblehead (with the most recent win a 9-8 victory over familiar foe Pentucket) and has included wins over North Shore heavyweights such as Hamilton-Wenham, Georgetown, North Reading, Bishop Fenwick, Triton, Essex Tech and Ipswich. The result has been a perfect 8-0 start heading into a matchup with Lynnfield at home on Friday (May 6, 7 p.m.), an impressive feat during a year in which local lacrosse teams looked to improve on strength of schedule by facing off with non-conference foes like Marblehead, Fenwick and Masconomet.

So far, that plan has worked to perfection.

“We have worked well as a team, and we are getting the most out of each player,” explains Manchester Essex girls lacrosse coach Nan Gorton. “We are starting to trust each other to do our job on the field and off. We have unselfish players and stay committed to getting better every day.”

The secret to the Hornets’ success so far seems to be an unwillingness to let up at any point of any contest. That sustained effort has paid off with both blowout victories and close wins.

“For sure, momentum is great, but it is easy to let up when you have momentum,” explains Gorton. “We talk a lot about just staying with the process, giving the best effort we can and then worrying about which way momentum carries us.

The coach adds: “I also think we are not taking anything for granted.  When we are ahead, we try and believe we are still in a tight game, and we continue to do the little things right.”

Gorton lists the Hornets’ 9-3 win over Ipswich on April 29 as a prime example of that philosophy bearing fruit. Manchester Essex faces the Tigers – a long-running program that seems to be successful every season – this time on the road on May 20.

“We had a huge win against Ipswich, our big rival,” says Gorton. “They are always a great team, well coached and well respected by us. We came out and played a strong game and it went our way.  We play them again this year and it will again be a tough one.”

To continue to find success at this level, the Hornets need their standout players to play up to the level they have this far into the spring.

“Our goalie, Brigid Carovillano – a freshman - is playing lights out,” explains Gorton. “We play with a confidence knowing she is in the back to alleviate any mistakes we make up field. In front of her, Wrede Charlton and Amelia Donnellan are playing great. They are captains and showing everyone how to step up and keep our emotions in check. Our midfield is led by Hadley Levendusky on the draw and Mechi O’Nieil and Ella Chafe. All three are strong players and work extremely well together.”

There is also offensive talent to lean on as the season progresses.

“Up front we have a lot of fire power up from Captain Emma Fitzgerald, Meyer Gist and Paige Garlitz, but all our players are really stepping up,” says the coach. “I am proud of all the players even off the field, offering guidance and support when we need it most.”  

That guidance will be especially necessary on Friday against the Sachems.

“This will be our biggest challenge of the season so far,” Gorton says of Pentucket. “We are going to play at their field, which is real grass. That is a tough place to play for us historically, so we will need to really stay focused on doing the little things right.  After that, we play Newburyport on May 10. They are always a tough game for us. There is a lot of emotion that goes into that game, so keeping our heads on straight will be key in that game.”

manchester essex girls lacrosse coach, coach, north reading, lacrosse, jeff shattler, paige garlitz, ella chafe, meyer gist, nan gorton, brigid carovillano, amelia donnellan, hadley levendusky, wrede charlton, emma fitzgerald