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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Girls’ lacrosse rebuilds with new team

Emmy Pak
Sophia Farone sprints after the ball during the girls lacrosse game against Los Gatos.

Head Coaches: Sarah Brauer and Kate Cortese

Recap: The team is returning after being canceled last season due to difficulty finding coaches.

Key Matchups: Palo Alto, Los Altos

Star Players: Senior defender Emma Green, juniors midfielder Riley Adler and defender Leena Elashmawi, sophomore midfielders Mindi Hendley and Sophia Farone

Key losses to graduation: N/A

Division: El Camino 


After the sport was canceled last season, the team’s biggest struggle has been playing at the varsity level: Out of the 25 members, 20 are new to the sport. Training these underclassmen is difficult; even basic skills like catching the ball require substantial time and practice to master due to the sport’s steep learning curve. 

With their first game six weeks after their first practice, players had little time to learn new skills and implement them. The team lost its first game 11-3 on March 13 against Los Gatos High School.

To help further develop lacrosse skills, head coaches Sarah Brauer and Kate Cortese have been implementing conditioning and assigning specific drills to develop baseline skills. This includes throwing a lacrosse ball against a wall and catching it for 10 minutes a day on the players’ own time to improve hand-eye coordination. 

Through internal scrimmages at practice, players are learning to defend and attack as a team and communicate effectively. Brauer and Cortese also don’t assign permanent positions — like attackers, midfielders and defenders — to the new players. This method has been useful for new players who are trying to get used to lacrosse’s flow and dynamic, allowing players to improve on both attack and defense over the course of the season.

The main experienced players, senior Emma Green and juniors Riley Adler and Leena Elashmawi, are trying their best to guide the new players. 

“We have to be patient with everyone else because most of the starting members are going to be people who don’t know how to play properly,” Green said. “However, they’ve caught on quickly. There’s definitely a lot of skill.” 

Sophomore Tina Mohr is a new player who appreciates the returning members’ spirit and compassion. 

“They do a good job at being really supportive. They take time to tell the group things they need to work on and the coaches what to prioritize so we can get better,” Mohr said. “They really care about the team. When the coaches aren’t available [for practice], they carry the team.”

Regarding team bonding and team dynamic, the members are all passionate and motivated about the sport. Mohr said the team has  “secret buddies” similar to Secret Santa, where each player is assigned another player to secretly gift candy to during home games. Members are also considering a “Tpumps Tuesday,” where the athletes go to Tpumps after practice on Tuesdays.

“[Secret Buddies] definitely does help team bonding; you might get someone you’re not close with, so you can grow a bond with them,” Mohr said. “It’s honestly really fun.”

  While the team will be going against other schools above their skill level, the athletes are hopeful in terms of their growth and spirit. “I’m really hopeful because we have a lot of talent from the upperclassmen and a lot of spirit from the underclassmen. Combined, we have good chemistry and it will be a promising season,” Adler said. “We might not get the outcome we want, but we are working to get there in the future.”

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