Julia Iapicca is a freshman on Oakdale’s perennially strong girls lacrosse team.
Bears senior Hannah Clingan can relate. Three years ago, she was in the same situation.
“I was very quiet and timid, and I never wanted to do anything wrong,” she said. “Like most freshmen.”
Bears junior Erin Hoyle, who was standing nearby, said, “I think Julia skipped that phase.”
Iapicca has been one of the Bears’ new contributors this season, and she scored four more goals Tuesday in Oakdale’s 21-3 win over host Frederick.
While the Bears lose key seniors after each season, they usually add promising freshmen the following spring to help replenish the program. Aside from Iapicca, fellow Oakdale freshman Alyssa Wright had two goals and four assists on Tuesday.
“It’s nice because the older girls are always great role models for the younger girls,” Bears coach Beth Nave said. “We’ve never had a team without freshmen.”
Those freshmen eventually turn into seasoned veterans like Clingan, who had four goals and one assist on Tuesday. In the past, Clingan has focused on setting up teammates instead of finding the net.
“I still would rather have the assists than goals,” she said. “But today, a lot of people seemed to have the assists for me, which was nice.”
The Bears used their speed and passing ability to mount an attack that helped them quickly erase a 2-0 deficit against the Cadets.
“I feel like we all connect really well, and our energy is high,” Iapicca said.
When Oakdale players caught a pass, they appeared to enact a plan that was already in their head. They immediately dashed to an open spot, shot or passed.
“We’re always telling them to think the next step ahead,” Nave said. “They can’t think about what they’re going to do with the ball after they get it because they’re going to get in trouble.”
Granted, there’s a happy medium. If the Bears focus too far into the future, they might have trouble catching passes. But they had no such problems Tuesday.
Hoyle scored three goals, and her first one put the Bears in front for good, 3-2. While Oakdale returns weapons such as Emma Bowman (who had three goals and four assists) and Sara Parnes, they need others to help fill the voids left by the graduation of stars like Emily Delorenzo and Carly Heine.
“A lot of underclassmen had to step up who were hiding on offense, I guess. I think I was one of them,” Hoyle said. “I would hide last year.”
Frederick took a 2-0 lead off goals by Kennedy Chamblee and Delaney Irwin, but they had trouble containing Oakdale’s attack.
“It was almost like a heavyweight boxing match,” Cadets (4-5) coach Brandon Brewbaker said. “We punched them in the face early, they punched us back in the face, and then we just couldn’t regroup.
“We did a lot things well,” he said. “Their speed is unbelievable. And that’s one thing that I think was the big difference tonight — we couldn’t work with their speed.”
Chamblee had two goals. Goalie Sydney Kaiser had 10 saves for the Cadets, and Samantha Lenfesty had four saves.
For Oakdale, goalie Melissa Semkiw had four saves, and Danielle Holt had two saves.