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St. Joseph’s women’s lacrosse off to strong start

It’s worked for Bob Vlahakis in the past. Now, after two seasons of building the women's lacrosse program at St. Joseph’s (LI), the coach believes he has enough quality players to play multiple lines, rotate players and maintain fresh legs on the field.

Vlahakis, who previously won four state girls lacrosse titles while implementing shifts in playing time at Shoreham-Wading River High School, is confident this could be the season St. Joseph’s wins the Skyline Conference tournament.

“What I like is that we now have six pretty good midfielders,” said Vlahakis, who was named the first coach of the women's lacrosse program in February 2011. “We haven’t had six really good two-way players up until now. It’s been the formula for my teams’ success in the past and helps to wear down teams.”

After a 4-2 start in non-league, which includes wins against top-ranked teams, the Golden Eagles will open conference play by hosting Purchase at 7 p.m. Friday.

While sophomores Heather Ferchland and Tori Gregson are the leading scorers, Vlahakis said the team is not dependent on the two playmakers.

“What we want eventually is to have all our starters be offensive threats and we’re starting to have that,” Vlahakis said. “We don’t work around one or two stars.”

On the defensive side, Courtney Wickline, a Bellport graduate, has emerged in front of the net.

“The one that I’m really most pleased with is our goalie,” Vlahakis said. “After seeing her in high school, I really liked her, her technique and clearing ability which also fits into our philosophy of getting the ball out and running. She’s done a real nice job of handling the pressure and emerging as kind of a quiet team leader already.”

New York Sports