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Nipmuc Girls LAX enjoying standout season Offense helps Warriors earn tourney spot

The Nipmuc girls' lacrosse team is all smiles after one of many wins this spring. Courtesy photos

By Chris Villani,
Sports writer
Grace Merten is noticing some changes in her players in her second season at the helm of the Nipmuc girls’ lacrosse team.


“There is a lot more continuity and carryover from last year in terms of routines, which has really helped us,” Merten said. “They are working so hard and we have a lot of raw talent. But everyone is working together as a team.”
The talented, albeit young, Nipmuc team put together a double-digit victory total in the regular season and is bound for the playoffs. Merten said much of the success can be attributed to her three captains.
Senior Kelly Bailey notched her 200th career point this spring, tackling the milestone well ahead of the end of the regular season. While she has helped anchor the offense, midfielder Liz Lange, a junior captain, has been strong on both the attack and on defense.
“People can’t get by her,” Merten said.
Then there’s Penny Brodeur, the most vocal leader of the group.
“She knows how to get everyone fired up,” Merten said. “Penny is someone that all the other girls look to.”
Summing up her captains, the coach said, “They all play a different role, but it works so well.”
Some of the Warriors’ newer players have also been key cogs. Senior Riley Webster came to the team after playing basketball this winter and Merten said her knowledge of how to play defense and use her athleticism has translated seamlessly from one sport to the other.
“She has been one of our strongest defenders,” Merten said.
And sophomore Fallon Lozano has continued to be one of the area’s top players. After a breakout freshman season, there was no catching opponents by surprise for Lozano this spring. But it hasn’t mattered. Even with other teams typically guarding her closely, Lozano passed the 200 point mark this year with still more than two years left in her high school career.
“She was great last year, but she is clearly more confident with a season under her belt,” Merten said. “People know her now and they look to shut her down, but it hasn’t stopped her. To have 200 career points before her sophomore season is over is just crazy.”
A pair of freshmen, Riley Collura and Jayden Lilburn, have also stepped into significant roles in their first season.
“We are feeling really good,” Merten said. “With such a young team, we need to build up our belief in ourselves. They have been doing such a good job of motivating each other.”
Even in the few setbacks Nipmuc has had, Merten said there are positives to be gained.
“We came really close to beating teams that used to blow us out in the past, that alone has been huge for us,” she said. “They are not wins, but they are still big milestones for our program.”