Recently, LNP|LancasterOnline published a story about the Lampeter-Strasburg softball team possibly laying claim to being the Lancaster-Lebanon League spring sports team that was most looking forward to the 2020 campaign.
You can add the Manheim Township girls lacrosse team to the discussion. The Blue Streaks brought back all but two starters and thus had expectations to get back to a state final for what would have been the third year in a row. Those hopes were dashed with the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in the cancellation of the season.
“I think there are no words to describe how last season ended and how devastating it was,” Manheim Township senior Taylor Kopan said.
The Streaks are one of only two District Three girls lacrosse programs to have reached a state title game, Kennard-Dale having done so in Class 2A in 2017 and 2018. Manheim Township did it in Class 3A in 2018 and 2019, coming up just short each time.
“Last year we talked about redeeming ourselves,” Kopan said. “This year we were going to make up for all of it.”
Coming into 2020, Manheim Township had to replace defender Ashlyn Campagna and All-American midfielder Lucy Svetec, who had handled the majority of the draw controls for the Streaks in 2019.
“Losing Lucy and Ashlyn on the draw circle made getting the draw more challenging,” Kopan said. “But I think all of our attackers and midfielders and even some defenders we put up there would have been able to step up to the plate.”
There was also the task of replacing Svetec’s scoring — she tallied a team-high 85 goals in 2019.
“She was a big loss in the scoring side of it,” Kopan said. “But we had a lot of depth this year. I think we would have done fine scoring-wise.”
Kopan (81 goals, 44 assists, L-L first-team all-star last season), senior Shannon Elias (39 goals, 22 assists, L-L second-team all-star) and juniors Megan Rice (76 goals, 56 assists, L-L first-team all-star) and Ariana Baublitz (33 goals, four assists, L-L second-team all-star) likely would’ve shouldered the scoring load in 2020.
On the other end, Manheim Township returned athletic junior goalkeeper Gail Wilkes (131 saves) and last year’s L-L Most Valuable Defender Abby Laubach along with senior defenders Jackie Schonman and Sophia Rockwell (L-L second-team all-star) and junior defender Emma Hagg (L-L first-team all-star).
The Streaks’ 2020 roster also featured five seniors committed to collegiate programs: Kopan (NCAA Division I Bucknell University), Elias (D-I University of Delaware), Laubach (D-III Washington College), Kaity Petersheim (D-III Bridgewater College), Katie Fluck (D-II Bloomsburg University) and Kayte Moist (D-III Albright College). Kopan is still figuring out her college destination after recently decommitting from D-I American University.
Add it all up and the Streaks had a good shot at extending their L-L regular season 81-game win streak, capturing what could have been its 11th-straight L-L tournament crown and 10th overall District Three crown, and possibly becoming the first girls lacrosse team from District Three to win a PIAA championship. And 10th-year coach Mark Pinkerton (194 career wins) would have nabbed his 200th career win along the way.
“It’s always been a disappointment,” Laubach said. “The beginning of the quarantine was the worst. It’s something I’ve had to accept and move on. I know Coach (Pinkerton) is devastated for us. We’re devastated for each other. We all have to accept the bigger picture of it and know what’s going on. It hurts a little bit. It’s sad. We’re looking forward to possibly getting together one last time post-quarantine.”
The Manheim Township girls lacrosse Twitter account has player-by-player tweets honoring this year's seniors. You can visit the page here to see each of those.
Shannon Elias #20 “Stay driven and motivated and that will get you far. Having a strong passion for the game and putting in extra reps will get you to big places. Be confident in yourself as a player and don’t hold back.” Proud of you, Shan! #mtglax #bluestreaks #seniorspotlight pic.twitter.com/4Bx6QZxnvh— MTGLax (@MTGLax) April 16, 2020