Bethel Park girls lacrosse coach Becky Luzier was disappointed when the PIAA canceled all springs sports statewide in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Lacrosse is the most dynamic sport a female can play,” said Luzier. “It requires endurance, field sense, hand-eye coordination and cooperation of everybody on the field from the attack to the back in order to be successful. You cannot hide anyone on the lacrosse field.”
The Black Hawks roster returned eight seniors to a team that fell in the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals a year earlier.
According to Luzier, there was a “buzz” throughout Bethel Park that 2020 was going to be a record season with WPIAL and PIAA runs for all spring sports.
“We certainly had high expectations especially coming off the best season in program history,” said Luzier, who has been at BP for 12 seasons.
“My heart breaks for them,” she said of her players. “We are family first. We enjoyed being together. It’s not lip service when I say that we had a really special senior class. Across the board, the group’s attitude was team first. They were willing to do what served the needs of the team most.”
Luzier said Sasha Henderson and Marissa Haunn were prime examples of that philosophy. Although primarily defenders this year, they played every position for the Black Hawks throughout their careers.
“They had the ability to do it,” Luzier explained. “They embraced all I asked them to do. They were not upset. They were always ready to try and go on to the next assignment.”
Grace Reiland, a midfielder, played a critical role for BP.
“Grace possesses the ability to self assess,” Luzier said. “So she already knows what I will tell her. If I give her something to do, she will work on it. She takes personal responsibility to improve.”
Marissa Disori, Dominique Eckley and Grace Regan were all banking on their growth as players to push them to the next level. Disori was a midfielder while Eckley and Regan had the ability to play on the attack or defense.
“We were blessed as a team to have many seniors who wanted to be leaders in whatever fashion necessary,” Luzier said. “I was lucky to have players that possessed a level of maturity that they embraced leadership opportunities within the team. The girls set a good example for buying in for our program.”
Peyton Miller worked hard at her game and leadership skills. A captain along with Henderson, she had looked forward to the 2020 campaign after missing last year’s playoff run because of an ACL injury.
“We were in a position to go all the way, make a run,” said Luzier. “Peyton worked hard to get her senior year back and it was a disappointment to see it end because we were talented and she was a phenomenal player.”
BP’s underclassmen are in position to make serious contributions to the legacy of the program.
Lucia Coccagno was the lone junior on the varsity squad this season, but Jade Fuccaro and McKenna Moriarity are expected to contribute moving forward.
Sophomore Caitlyn Schultz will return as the Black Hawks’ leading scorer. She will look to help lead a team that also includes sophomores Megan Cunningham, Sydney Kosko, Tori Krapp, Chloe McDaniel, Riley Miller, Ella Stewart, Maddie Walters and Kaitlyn Wiard next season.
Bethel Park freshmen Isabella Bernstein, Novena Ferency, Corrine Hewes, Maddie Kanangy, Megan Krapp, Amanda Lincoln, Ashleigh Manns, Carley O’Mara and Katherine Tena are all also ready to contribute in 2021.
“The mentality of my girls right now is that a lot has been left on the table for us,” Luzier said. “What happened, happened. We can’t do anything about the lost season, but I know the seniors told the younger girls ‘we missed out and you owe us’ because they weren’t able to (win a section or WPIAL championship.
“The younger girls are taking that seriously. They are anxious to be back on the field, practice and improve and do the work necessary to make that happen. They’ve made that commitment. We’ve sold them on ‘if you are not playing, then you are not improving.’ So we need to get out there and play and do the work.”