After flourishing in the FAA for numerous seasons, Sacred Heart Greenwich’s lacrosse team opted to leave the conference, making this season one of significant change for the Tigers, who captured the FAA Tournament title three consecutive seasons.
Sacred Heart upgraded its schedule and though it will still face a pair of FAA foes such as neighborhood rival Greenwich Academy and School of the Holy Child, its opponents include several strong public school teams from Connecticut and Westchester, along with a group of formidable regional and NEPSAC foes.
“We have more of a competitive schedule,” said Sacred Heart senior midfielder Franny O’Brien, an All-American selection in 2021, who will serve as one of the squad’s captains this spring. “We have a lot more games that will have to be played with a lot more intensity and that’s what we need to develop and take that step in becoming a more competitive program and obtaining the legacy.”
The Tigers play their home-opener today at 4:30 p.m. against familiar foe Holy Child, then host Rye (N.Y.) High School on April 4, before traveling to Summit New Jersey on April 9.
“These girls are hungry,” Sacred Heart co-head coach Sharon Robinson said. They want to play the best teams they can play and be challenged and we think they can do it.”
Adding to the Tigers’ season of change is the arrival of first-year co-head coaches Sharon Robinson and Jackie Goldmann. They replace Alyson Messinger Costigan, who spent one season at the helm.
“We’re super excited,” Robinson said. “It’s been great getting to know the girls. They are a super talented group of girls, the depth is awesome as a group. There is a lot of potential on this team as a whole.”
Robinson previously guided the girls lacrosse program at Bronxville (N.Y.) High School, spending 14 successful seasons at the school. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Robinson was a three-sport high school athlete, then proceeded to play lacrosse at the collegiate level at Yale University. Her daughter, Kaitlin Robinson, a sophomore midfielder, is on Sacred Heart’s roster.
“That’s another exciting initiative, coaching her,” Robinson said of coaching her daughter the next few seasons.
Goldmann is the co-director of PrimeTime Lacrosse, a club program serving Fairfield and Westchester Counties. Sacred Heart has a pair of experienced captains in O’Brien and senior defender Lauren Giuriceo.
“They are awesome leaders,” Goldman said of the Tigers’ captains. “They lead by example, every single day they work so hard and they are teammates first.”
O’Brien will be relied upon to help spark Sacred Heart offensively and several areas around the field. SHG (1-0) opened its season with an 11-8 triumph on the road against Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead, N.Y.
“The team is looking really good, really strong,” O’Brien said. “We had our first win of the season on Saturday against Sacred Heart Academy, and we were really excited about that. They were a super competitive team and they had a bunch of talented girls on their team and we were able to shut them down and win that game, which was an awesome way to start the season.”
“I’m looking forward to the season,” O’Brien continued. “We have a lot of strong players, a lot of young players, but they’re really stepping up in their roles.”
Giuriceo, who was also one of the captains of the school’s soccer team, enjoys her leadership role.
“It’s new being the leader on the team and having to step up,” Giuriceo said. “It’s challenging as a person, just always being on and being the go-to person for compliments and hyping everyone up. I’d like to think that I’ve taken this role in stride and really bring energy to the team.”
Juniors Kelly Haggerty, who has committed to play lacrosse at Fairfield University, Karina Sethi (committed to compete at the University of Vermont), Mackenzie Coleman (Elon University commit) and seniors Dylan Drury and Abby Barnett are among some of the athletes that should power the Tigers’ attack position.
“Kelly Haggerty is a great low attacker, Karina Sethi is a quick dodger, and Mackenzie Coleman is a dynamic attacker,” coach Robinson said. “Abby Barnett has done very well for us and is very consistent and Dylan Drury is a consistent, senior leader of our team.”
At the midfield position, O’Brien, Kaitlin Robinson, sophomore Payton Sfreddo, sophomore Maggie Bacigalupo and freshman Charley Bacigalupo are among some of the athletes that should score provide plenty of goals.
“In the midfield, we’re going to work well together and set each other up for success,” O’Brien said.
“Franny O’Brien is an All-American, Kaitlin Robinson has done amazing things at midfield and attack, Payton Sfreddo has a lot of speed, she brings it up and down the field, Charley Bacigalupo has played a key role on attack and Maggie Bacigalupo has been very good,” coach Robinson said.
While scoring goals shouldn’t be an issue, solving Sacred Heart’s defense could be tough with the return of defenders Annie O’Connor (senior), who will play the sport at Brown University, Maggie Sullivan (senior, headed to compete at Colgate), sophomore Olivia Leahy, junior Corbin Callaway (committed to Bucknell) and junior Lauren Drummey.
“Our 1-vs.-1 defense looks really good and our transitions are getting there, so it will be a really good season for us,” Giuriceo noted.
The coaching staff appreciate the key roles the senior captains are filling.
“They are helpful to us to, as we are new to the program,” coaches Robinson and Goldmann said. “They know the history and philosophy of the school.”
Giuriceo is impressed with how well the team has already bonded on and off the field.
“Our ability to work together is one of our strengths,” she said. “We have crafted some chemistry so early in the season, which is special, thanks to the coaching staff. The camaraderie on the team is great. Our stats show that. Everyone contributes each and every practice and game.”
Some of Sacred Heart’s home games feature: Holy Child (today), Rye (April 4), Germantown Academy (May 7), Loomis Chaffee (May 11) and Hotchkiss (May 18).
“As always, we want to do the best we can every single game, put our best foot forward and go 110 percent every single practice, every single game and win as many games as possible,” said O’Brien, who plans on making a point of appreciating every moment of her senior season. “I’m definitely savoring this last season at Sacred Heart. It’s definitely going to be an emotional one, but I’m really excited and I’m sure it’s going to be as amazing as my past four years on the team.”