New Egypt looks to returnees for turnaround lacrosse season



Senior captain Mackenzie Magnotta and junior Jessica Andreula will look to lead a turnaround for New Egypt High School’s girls lacrosse team under new coach Virginia Weber.

Weber succeeds Katie Sawicki, who is on maternity leave.

“We have a new team with not many returning varsity starters, but we have been working extremely hard this preseason to improve from our record last year,” said Weber, who is in her first head-coaching job after a stellar career at Moorestown High School and then at Loyola University in Baltimore, Md., before graduating in 2012. “There will be many new names and faces associated with our team this year, not only with the players, but with myself as the new head coach. It will be a building year for us.”

Also looking to lead the way from last year’s two-win season are sophomores Alexa Hladik, Emily Davis and Alexa Natalicchio, who got a baptism of fire as a freshman last season. Natalicchio’s older sister, Cortney, was a prolific scorer before graduating in 2012 and embarking on a college career at The College of New Jersey. Cortney has six goals and eight assists in eight games, two of them starts, for the 8-0 Lions, who are ranked No. 5 in NCAA Division III this season.

“These five [leading] players played varsity last year, and we are looking for big things from them,” Weber said. “These girls are dedicated individuals, who have the experience and know what it is like to play against great competition. I will look to them to lead the team this year to a better record than last season.” New Egypt opened its season March 26 with a 17-3 loss to Notre Dame High School, as Andreula led New Egypt with two goals and Natalicchio finished with seven saves. The Warriors were scheduled to play on April 2 at home against Delran High School.

Weber has regarded Magnotta for her intangibles.

“She’s team captain and our leader. She’s a very poised player, a great team player and vocal leader on the field who makes her presence known on defense as a great [one-on-one] defender, and [she] reads the play very well,” Weber said. “She’s also a contributor on attack and in the midfield.”

Weber regards Andreula as “an aggressive, feisty player. You will see action from her in the midfield, on defense and running the attack, and [she] will take anyone to the goal. She has a knack for the goal and seeing open players cutting. She’s another great [one-on-one] defender for us, and will pick up some top scorers on opposing teams.”

They’ll look to fill the void of Danielle Andreula and Emma Bunce, who graduated last spring.

Hladik’s value is in transition and on the attack, with her speed and knack to elude defenders with a quick first step.

“We’re looking for her to be an even bigger threat offensively this season, and she will also be a contributor on the defensive end and in the midfield,” Weber said.

Davis, a sophomore defender, is coming of age in marking dangerous opposing players.

“She’s not a very flashy player, but will get the job done,” Weber said.

In goal, Natalicchio is aggressive without the ball, coming out to play attackers and chasing down loose balls.

Other players who will help this season on the attack will be junior Brooke Gatyas on the attack and junior Rachel Stillwell at midfield and on defense.