As the game came to a close, the ninth-seeded Huskies, Stuyvesant’s girls’ lacrosse team, realized what they had just accomplished. After going winless in the playoffs for the past five years and making the playoffs for the first time last year, the team managed to upset 8-seed Forest Hills High School 5-3. Even though they lost to the number one overall team and eventual runner up Curtis High School 15-6 the next round, the team did something that hadn’t been done in recent memory. No one saw their win coming, not even the team. “If you asked me in March if we’d win our first playoff game, I’d probably say no,” senior and co-captain Lucy Wang said.
The team faced adversity from the start, as their former coach, Jenna Gilbert, was replaced by coach Manuel Simon. While Simon stepped up and coached the team, he was not too familiar with the sport. His coaching responsibility fell on the captains. “Through time, we learned how to run practices and manage game logistics (subs, plays,!etc.) by ourselves,” Wang said. Another senior and co-captain, Lauren Moy, had a similar sentiment, saying, “We had to do a lot of the teaching and giving criticism during games, which was hard, since we’re also trying to be regular players.” Luckily, they were able to figure things out and keep their season going.
After a rough start to the season that included four straight rain-outs, the team rebounded and finished third in their division, Division 3, with a 10-4 record. Only Bronx High School of Science (12-2) and Hunter High School (14-0) finished ahead of them in the standings. This was the first year of Division 3, as previous years broke up teams by borough. Last year, the team finished 6-10 before losing to Tottenville in the first round of the playoffs 17-6. The year before that they did not qualify for a playoff berth.
A number of upperclassmen became major forces in the PSAL, but none improved as much as Wang. As an attacker/midfielder, Wang doubled the number of goals she scored from last season to this one, from 49 to 100. Her 100 goals scored led the PSAL, with the next closest person 23 goals behind her, at 77. Her leadership and goal-scoring was much needed, and her three goals in the playoff game against Forest Hills High School proved to be the deciding factors.
However, the win was more than just Wang. It was a team effort, especially by the seniors. “All the seniors in general are starters and have really shaped this team into something,” junior and co-captain Inbar Pe’er said. “When they were freshmen, it was no cuts, and they worked so hard to create a real team and a work ethic.” These seniors worked and bided their time, and after four years, they finally found success.
The team will suffer next year, with eight seniors leaving, including top goal-scorer Wang and goalie and co-captain Maddie Ostergaard. “A lot of the starting lineup consisted of seniors, so it’ll probably be a tough adjustment,” Wang said. “But I think they can succeed.” They held many key positions on the field, and finding capable replacements will not be easy. Many underclassmen will have to improve and work hard to fill the spots on the roster vacated by the graduating class.
The team recently voted captains for next year, and decided on juniors Pe’er, Leila Storkamp, and Sara Ng. It could be a tough year, but if the team was able to weather a loss of a coach and a difficult beginning and still win a playoff game, getting back to this point next season is not out of the question. A young and athletic team, these Huskies could be just beginning to reach their peak.