Challenges ahead for revamped Baldwin


With three straight playoff appearances, including two trips to the Nassau Class A semifinals, Baldwin’s girls’ lacrosse program is thriving under coach Nicole Lein.

Big challenges are in store for the Lady Bruins following the departures of leading scorer Allie Rodgers (Binghamton), top defender Nicole Markowitz (Monmouth) and No. 1 goaltender Caroline Winters (Molloy) from a team nipped by Port Washington in the opening round of last year’s playoffs.

“I don’t want to say we’re rebuilding, but we have holes to fill and we’re trying to mesh,” Lein said. “Not getting on the field very much in the first month definitely hurt, but I liked the way we picked up the pace in the second half of the first game.

“We’re facing a tough schedule,” she added. “Every game is going to be super competitive.”

Young playmaking midfielder Kelsey Cohen, who Lein said wants to emulate the

prolific Rodgers, got her sophomore campaign off to a fine start with four goals in a 13-11 loss to Seaford in this year’s opener. “Kelsey’s already in her third varsity season and has stepped into a leadership role,” Lein said of Cohen, who scored four goals in last year’s playoff defeat. “She’s aggressive with the ball and makes things happen.”

An injury cost Jessica Markowitz most of 2012, but the junior midfielder is healthy and back to making an impact at both ends of the field. She opened this season the same way she finished last spring — by scoring a hat trick — and Lein is projecting a big year from the four-year varsity member. “Jessica can be a force,” Lein said. “We rely on her a lot offensively and defensively.”

Cohen and Markowitz began their varsity careers as eighth-graders and now play a key role in helping one develop. Eighth-grader Sarah Pulis is a graceful and unselfish midfielder with a bright future, and she’s developed chemistry with the top pair, Lein said. Pulis had a goal and an assist against Seaford.

The in-close attack has a mix of seniors and underclassmen. Freshmen Bridget Jules and Hailey Rattigan have made the jump from middle school to varsity a smooth one, and both got in the scoring column in their varsity debuts. Jules notched a goal, and Rattigan an assist. Sophomore Morgan Rachlin also scored in the opener, and seniors Olivia Dominique, Emilia Moore and Ufoma Oyiborhoro are the veterans of the group.

There’s no shortage of experience or leadership on defense with seniors Chelsea Banks, Amanda Clemens, Sam Leavey and Casey Barbiero in the fold. Banks is a strong and athletic defender who has the green light to make runs into the attack zone. New goalie Nicole Scheintul, a freshman, plays club lacrosse and brings lots of ability.

The Lady Bruins are off to a 0-3 start against Conference II rivals after falling short last week against South Side and Hewlett. They’ll host Holy Trinity in non-league action this Friday at 4:15 p.m.