Girls lax preview: Wilton must overcome injuries

After losing two-thirds of what would have been the best midfield in the state to injury, the Wilton High girls lacrosse team has had to mix things up a little in preparation for the 2013 season.

Senior midfielder Casey Pearsall, a returning All-American and one of the top players in the country, is out for the season with an ACL injury suffered during the basketball season. And fellow senior Megan Boepple, a returning first team All-State player, is still working her way back from a torn ACL.

All things considered, the Warriors have taken a really bad situation and appear to have turned it into something positive.

“It had a big impact on the team,” said head coach Meredith Meyran of the injuries. “The team has responded really, really well. It’s an opportunity for other people to step up.”

The Warriors are coming off another solid season, in which they went 17-5 and reached the Class M state finals. Three of their losses came to the state’s top team, New Canaan.

The loss of Pearsall changes everything. The absence of the Hal Levy High School Female Athlete of the Year in 2012 (as voted by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance) leaves a void at both ends of the field. She scored more than 70 goals a year ago.

Boepple, who tallied more than 40 goals last year, could be back to action in May.

The lone remaining member of the midfield trio is senior Tegan Helms, a first team All-FCIAC and All-State player last year, as she scored nearly 80 goals.

“She’s really a force in the midfield,” said Meyran.

Junior Shannon Quinlan, who played attack last season, will be moved to midfield to get her blazing speed (she was one of the top sprinters in the state during the indoor track season) more involved in transition. She tallied nearly 40 goals last year.

Also back in the midfield is sophomore Makenna Pearsall, who is really stepping up this spring, said Meyran.

Sophomores Lane Parsons, Stephanie Freilich and Melissa Boehme will also key the midfield line.

The attack line will be led by senior Kat Vincent, who is coming off a 16-goal season and is primed to break out.

“She has really been dominant so far. She’s been playing so well,” said Meyran. “We’ll be running a lot of things through her.”

Also back on attack are sophomore Sara Dickenson (25 goals) and junior Annie Cornbrooks (nine goals).

Rounding out the attack are juniors Emmie Arrix and Emma Kistler.

The defense lost a lot from a year ago, graduating second team All-FCIAC players Liz Reda and Sam Blicht, and two All-FCIAC honorable mention players in defender Logan Piper and goalie Vanessa Pagano.

Despite those losses, Meyran isn’t worried about the Warriors’ prospects on the defensive end.

“Our senior defenders are so strong and the midfielders we have that are contributing, these girls are very, very good defenders,” she said.

Anchoring the defense are returning seniors Lydia Freilich and Haley Crimmins.

“They have really been locking down on the defensive end and directing the traffic,” said Meyran.

A key newcomer is sophomore Casey Tucker, who will be a key player on defense.

Also back on the defensive end is junior Maeve Kinnard.

Returning junior goalie Hannah Wiltshire is currently sidelined with a concussion, so new sophomore Sofie Paddon will start the season in goal.

“We have a very small roster. Everybody’s going to see a lot of playing time,” said Meyran, who is confident the Warriors will be ready to go when the season opens Wednesday at Trumbull.

All things considered, that’s quite an accomplishment.

“We are doing really well. The girls are really working hard and we have actually been surprised with the level of play and what we’ve been able to achieve so far,” Meyran said. “People have been stepping up.”