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Milford Girls LAX Building Quickly

In only its second year at the varsity level, the Milford High girls lacrosse team exceeded just about everyone's expectations, going from a one win team in 2009 to the district tournament in 2010. Even head coach Jason Gelmini was caught a little off guard. "We knew we had a lot of young girls who were going to be good," he said. "But we were surprised with making the tournament."
Milford finished the regular season 10-8 last year before falling to North Middlesex in the first round of the districts. The Scarlet Hawks opened the 2011 season with an 18-7 victory over Hudson. It was the first game in goal for senior Connie Dam, a converted attacker who takes over for graduated district All-Star Melissa Vondras.
"At the beginning of the season we had no goalie at all, so it's been a challenge for us trying to establish that position," said Gelmini. "Connie has been a starter on the attack since she was a sophomore, but she really stepped up the off season to learn a new position. We are going to be relying on her a lot this year."
Dam picked up two big saves in the win over Hudson, and her offense supplied plenty of firepower thanks to the veteran trio of Alyssa Nania, Cassandra DeSousa, and Valerie Ferrante. All three players are seniors, and have started and played together since their sophomore seasons. Nania and DeSousa are also co-captains. "I expect our offense to be a strength, mainly because they know each other so well and know what to do on offense," said Gelmini.
Milford will also return a pair of district all-stars in the midfield in Reba Barrows and Samantha Salamone, both of whom are expected to be key contributors once again.
The team's relatively quick success seems to be causing a stir in terms of participation. Last year, Milford had just one freshman come out for the team. This spring, there are 13. "I feel like we have established ourselves, we are getting more interest out there," said Gelmini. "I couldn't be happier."
Gelmini also points out that lacrosse is not always the easiest sport to pick up, but so far his younger charges are showing a quick learning curve. "Lacrosse is not a natural thing, catching and throwing a ball with a stick," he said. "Understanding the concepts can be difficult, but the new girls have reacted well and we are working on advanced stuff even with the younger players."
Getting to the tournament set the high bar for Milford girls across moving forward, but Gelmini is confident his team is up to the task again this season. "We have a lot of expectations, the girls have positive and with a little luck and some hard work we think getting back to districts is a possibility."




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