Lacrosse standout ready to start college career

Cortney Natalicchio helped lead New Egypt to 12-6 record in 2012


The 2012 lacrosse season was a recordsetting campaign to remember for the New Egypt High School girls lacrosse team and its standout player Cortney Natalicchio, who is heading to The College of New Jersey in Ewing Township next month.

New Egypt recorded its most victories ever in a 12-6 season, its best seed ever in the state tournament, and its first home state tournament match that ended in an openinground victory over St. Rose High School.

The Warriors bowed out of the state tournament with a loss to the Pingry School in the second round.

When it was all over, 2012 was a season that met many of the hopes and perhaps surpassed some expectations for the Warriors.

“From the beginning, I don’t think anyone thought we would have the best record in school history for this year with such a young team,” Natalicchio said. “It was team chemistry and hard work. I was really happy with our season and the great accolades.”

Natalicchio said she started to feel that 2012 could be a special season when the team ran off a string of victories that included beating Holy Cross and Rancocas Valley.

“We finally clicked and everyone figured out how to come together,” Natalicchio said.

Senior teammate Julie Ciak, who played as a midfielder and a defender, agrees.

“We improved a lot at the end, which shows when we beat Notre Dame after losing badly to them the first time,” Ciak said. “We learned to play together. Early in the season we forced passes, but we got more patient.”

Coach Katie Sawicki said, “I think [New Egypt’s success] had to do with opposing teams underestimating us, but the seniors were committed to a successful program with good chemistry, and the [underclassmen] bought into it and the seniors were successful teachers. They fit all the pieces together with the underclassmen.”

Natalicchio ended her scholastic career with 237 goals — one of the highest totals in state history — including 84 goals in 2012. She tied the school record for career assists with 89. Natalicchio believes her assists were as much of a testament to her contributions to the squad as her goals were.

“That’s special for me, that it wasn’t just scoring goals,” she said of the assists she handed out.

“Along with Cortney, we had a bunch of different people score,” Ciak said. “Alot of teams had people key on Cortney, and it helped us having so many people who were able to score.”

Although a number of schools pursued Natalicchio, she decided on The College of New Jersey because she believed she would have a great opportunity to play field hockey for the NCAA Division III defending national champions, as well as to play lacrosse there.

“I think [TCNJ] is a good fit for her,” said Sawicki, who also coaches New Egypt’s field hockey team. “She is also a fantastic field hockey player. And it [TCNJ] is right around the corner for people she knows to be able to see her play.”

The field hockey and lacrosse teams at TCNJ are coached by Sharon Pfluger, who was named the national field hockey coach of the year last fall.

“I was into lacrosse because that’s the one I planned on playing in college, but the last year or two, I’ve enjoyed playing field hockey. I love both sports,” Natalicchio said. “A lot of girls there [TCNJ] play both sports.” In 2011, TCNJ’s field hockey team won its 11th national title, its first since 1999, in a 24-2 season. The Lions’ lacrosse team lost in the second round of the national tournament to SUNY-Cortland, 9-7, in a 16-4 season. Natalicchio is one of four players who graduated from the Warriors’ lacrosse team, and all four young women played integral roles. The other three also will attend college in the fall, but are not expecting to continue their lacrosse careers on that level.

Ciak will attend TCNJ in the honors program and said she may try to walk on for the lacrosse team. Defender Kassandra Stillwell will attend Rowan and may be looking to pursue her softball career there, said Sawicki, and goalkeeper Danielle Solinski will attend George Washington University.

Sawicki said there will be many returning players on the New Egypt lacrosse team as well as on the field hockey team, and the coach noted there also are some young lacrosse players coming up who show a lot of promise.

They include attack players Courtney Stillwell and Emma Bunce, who will be seniors, and Makenzie Magnotta, a rising junior who Sawicki said “came up big for us this past season.”

Danielle Andreula and Nicole Miller also drew good experience in the midfield that they will take into their senior seasons, while Andreula’s sister, Jessica, a sophomore, showed good versatility.

As for goalkeeper, Sawicki said it’s a tough position to fill with Solinski’s graduation, but she has some young prospects who can meet the challenge.

Natalicchio said the future looks bright for the team that set the bar higher this season, but she does not look at her individual career standards in that regard.

“It’s not following up on what I did, but it’s the team rewards, which all the girls started to enjoy,” she said. “They will spend more time seeing what we have accomplished in the past. I see good things ahead for them.”