Closing last season with seven wins in its last eight games allowed Malverne/East Rockaway girls’ lacrosse to finish with a .500 record despite a difficult 0-6 start.
With the bulk of the roster back this spring, coach Casey Capece wanted to put the Rockin’ Mules to the test early and scheduled non-league matchups with Baldwin, Island Trees and Hicksville. Winning each of those games by an average of nearly four goals not only flipped the opening script from 2022 but allowed the team to set the tone in the confidence department.
“The girls don’t play lacrosse year-round but most are two-sport athletes who came into the season knowing what it was going to take to be successful,” Capece said. “We’ve been on a really nice roll since the midway point of last season. This year’s start was different because we carried over the confidence.”
Malverne/East Rockaway hasn’t stopped adding to the win column since the trio of March games and opened May with its 10th victory without a defeat — 17-3 at Great Neck South with eighth-grader Makaela Brennan (five goals) and junior Emma Poland (four) starring.
Perfect in six tries against Conference V rivals, the Rockin’ Mules are in the driver’s seat for the title. Their toughest remaining hurdles to a conference title, Capece said, are Wheatley and West Hempstead. The latter visits this Friday at 5 p.m.
Capece said an 11-7 win at Jericho April 20 was the most satisfying conference triumph so far. “Jericho is a good team and we knew we had to work hard at both ends of the field,” she said of the win led by Brennan (four goals), senior Kate Chelius (three) and senior goaltender Aliyah Reshard (11 saves.)
Brennan played varsity a year ago as an East Rockaway seventh-grader and was a key part of the team’s late push, finishing with 28 goals. Through 10 games this season the talented young midfielder who also takes draws has 40 goals and 17 assists. “She’s like our point guard,” Capece said. “She can dodge defenders and thread the needle.”
Chelius and Poland are also frequenting the score sheet. Chelius (24 goals) is strong attacker in the crease and also providing leadership, the coach noted. “Kate has as much lacrosse experience as anyone on our team,” Capece said.
The 6-foot-1 Poland can catch any pass her way, executes well, and is no stranger to finding the back of the net with 30 goals, including at least three in half the games. She also takes most draws Brennan doesn’t.
Senior Sarah Boubert is the team’s top defensive midfielder who makes things happen in transition with her speed. She has 17 goals. “Sarah is the backer in our zone,” said Capece, who also counts on Malverne junior Isabella Alvarez to lead the defense in front of Reshard.
A returning starter in the cage, Reshard is averaging a shade under 10 saves per game. She made a season-high 18 stops in a 12-8 victory over Hicksville. “She’s super-clutch and passionate,” Capece said.