Somerville High School girls lacrosse standout Dakota Pastore comes into this season as one of players to watch, after eclipsing the 100-goal mark as a sophomore.
Pastore, who was selected as a first-team All-Area by the Courier News a year ago, scored 102 goals and 48 assists for Somerville.
In 2014, she should expect to see heavy double-teams – and even some triple-teams – from opposing defenses.
Somerville head coach Maylin Harter said that she expects Pastore to have an even better season this year, if that’s possible.
Harter said that Kailee Spotts and Meghan Nolte will provide Pastore support in the midfield and Devon Hawkinson and Riley Stanford should net goals from attack.
• Delaware Valley, a team that was 9-9 a year ago, will have two go-to scorers returning in Joanna Keller and Caroline Vath. Keller, a senior, notched 39 goals and 31 assists in 2013 and Vath, a junior, registered 52 goals and 23 assists.
Keller is a player that Delaware Valley counts on to control the ball off the draws and Vath is just four goals short of 100 for her career. Expect to see the Terriers play solid defense as a team this year, as head coach Stephanie Cirino noted that her squad is full of players that are expected to step up and carry bigger roles in 2014. Cirino said that communication will be a strong point on the field as Delaware Valley looks to continue its rise in the Skyland Conference.
• Look for Hillsborough to remain a force in the Skyland, as graduation was kind to Beth Murrin’s group. The Raiders are a senior-laden group, with Erika Cavallo leading the way. Cavallo was a second-team All-Area performerlast season and Murrin mentioned Alex DeGaris, Amanda Muller and Lauren Belskie as key players.
• Andrea McNeely of Scotch Plains-Fanwood enters 2014 just 12 goals short of 100 for her career. The Raiders have eight seniors returning, five in the starting lineup. Goalkeeper Megan Welch and attack Julie Haggan should anchor a young defensive unit.
• Watchung Hills went 15-5 a season ago, but after graduating nine starting seniors, this could be a bit of a rebuilding year. Coach Steph Linder still expects her squad to repeat in the division and make an extended run in the state tournament. Linder mentioned Kelsey Reed, Lauren Stone, Gabby Burton and Haley Frey as players to watch.
• Junior goalkeeper Jenny Wilkens, a stalwart for Pingry the last two seasons, has already committed to play at University of California-Berkeley. Wilkens should be the anchor for the Big Blue.