Wednesday, July 16, 2014
In 2013, South Hadley’s Meghan Ginley established herself as the top girls lacrosse player in Hampshire County and one of the best in western Massachusetts.
This season she absolutely cemented that spot with an even better senior campaign.
For the second consecutive year, Ginley has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year.
“I was really shocked to win it last year, and just as shocked to get it again,” Ginley said. “It didn’t set in for a while.”
The senior attack led all of Hampshire County with 69 goals and 94 points. Only Liz Mastrio of Minnechaug scored more goals (95) in western Mass.
“This season was about Meghan continuing to mature as a lacrosse player,” South Hadley coach Mike Hyer said. “She worked her hardest every minute of the game and always found ways to contribute.”
The 94 total points represented a jump of 20 from the 74 she posted as a junior. The next highest point total among county players was 70 by Belchertown sophomore Emma Jopson.
“Knowing it was my last high school season and possibly my last time playing lacrosse made me want to do my absolute best and improve every day,” Ginley said. “I never went into a game saying I needed to ramp up my points or anything. It just happened that way.”
With productive players such as Brooke Marion and Maddie Brandts having graduated, Ginley received more opportunities to score but she also saw opponents game-planning specifically for her. She got faceguarded and needed teammates to provide numerous screens.
“I told her before the season that she wasn’t a secret anymore and that other teams would try to shut her down,” Hyer said. “She used that to help set up her teammates, and was able to facilitate the entire offense.”
Going into her junior season, Ginley placed an emphasis on improving her left hand. She saw growth in that area last season, and continued to develop this past offseason.
“This season I felt a lot more confident not only shooting left but carrying left,” she said. “I put a lot of focus on improving that part of my game and becoming a more well-rounded player.”
Hyer added, “Her left hand continued to develop, which made her right more effective. You can’t overplay one side or the other, and Meg took whatever the defense gave her.”
After a 1-4 start to the season, South Hadley finished at 8-9-1 but fell a win short of the postseason.
“We played a really tough schedule, and we got a little frustrated early on after some losses,” Ginley said. “The teams in our league were immensely talented, but that helped us improve as the season went along. We gained a lot of confidence and just barely missed out on the playoffs.”
Having blown past the career 100-point mark during her junior season, Ginley reached 200 with eight tallies and an assist May 7 in a 16-10 victory at Belchertown.
“I couldn’t have possibly envisioned getting there, and honestly I didn’t even know at the time I got there,” Ginley said. “Coach didn’t want to let me know so I wouldn’t worry at all about it.”
As one of two senior cocaptains, Ginley used a less forceful but equally efficient manner of leadership to bring along a young squad.
“She led by her will and determination and inspired her teammates to play the same way,” Hyer said. “Meghan wants to score and is willing to do all she can to go out and get it. That’s really nothing you can teach.”
Ginley is set to attend Fairfield University in the fall. Despite an initial bit of apprehension about playing, she’s been in touch with the coach and intends on trying out.
“For a while, I didn’t think I was good enough to play Division I,” Ginley said. “But Coach and my parents talked to me about it and encouraged me that I did have the ability. I guess I didn’t believe them until the end of this past season. I’m so passionate about the sport, and I’d much rather give it a shot and not make it than regret not trying.”
Michael Wilkinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily Allcroft, senior, Northampton
Emily Biggs, junior, Northampton
Kate Bowers, sophomore, Belchertown
Liz Cavanaugh, senior, Holyoke Catholic
Emma Cyr, sophomore, Belchertown
Meghan Ginley, senior, South Hadley
Lidia Hojnoski, senior, Holyoke Catholic
Emma Jopson, sophomore, Belchertown
Leila Kouakou, senior, Northampton
Olivia Slysz, junior, South Hadley
Jackie Soucia, senior, Belchertown
Clover Ulrich, junior, Amherst Regional
Hunter Zackaricz, senior, Northampton
Chloe Zinter, junior, Belchertown
Tiffany Anderson, junior, Belchertown
Jenna Barthlow, freshman, Granby
Jackie Bourque, senior, South Hadley
Kara Callahan, senior, South Hadley
Grace Frank, senior, Amherst Regional
Sophie Gatzounas, freshman, South Hadley
Bridget Harrington, sophomore, Northampton
Anna Hayes, junior, Amherst Regional
Caitlin Keefe, freshman, Northampton
Missie Maiewski, junior, Northampton
Kailey Pacheco, sophomore, Belchertown
Madison Rodriguez, sophomore, Amherst Regional
Kate Sarnacki, freshman, Granby
Gabi Schwalm, junior, South Hadley
Meghan Sharick, sophomore, Amherst Regional