New coach takes reins for Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse
It is another year of transition for Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse.
The reins of the Colts have been handed to Jordan Burkes, the fourth head coach of the team in as many seasons. Burkes is a teacher at Charters Valley and was an assistant with the team last season.
She wanted to return to help the players get a sense of stability.
“It is challenging for the seniors who stuck with it through all four years,” Burkes said. “They have been open to everything and have done a great job welcoming the new girls. We have a couple of girls that are playing lacrosse for the first time ever.”
The Colts have another familiar face on the staff in Kim Eldridge. She was the head coach in 2016 and led Charters Valley to the WPIAL Division I title game.
And through some stability, Burkes thinks, the Chartiers Valley program can takes steps to returning to its past glory. The Colts qualified for the postseason every year from 2010-16, reaching the WPIAL title game five times.
“Stability has a major factor in that,” Burkes said. “With the program always changing, the girls don’t know what to expect. But being consistent each year can help the program grow.”
The Colts started the year 1-2. The two losses came to a pair of Class AA’s best teams — Trinity and Quaker Valley are a combined 8-1.
Chartiers Valley is averaging just over six goals early in the season. The offense has been led by senior Lauren Lohman.
“She has stepped up and taken a lot of leadership responsibility,” Burkes said. “She is doing a great job.”
Junior Bailey Donofrio also has been a catalyst for the team’s attack. On the defensive side of the field, senior Rachel Rohe has been a major contributor. The team turned to Jillian Glass to play goalie. It is the senior’s first year playing the sport.
“She is very athletic and quick,” Burkes said. “She has taken it head-on. In our win over Moon, she had a couple of game-winning saves.”
The team has also turned to its freshman class for production. The four players are products of Charters Valley’s youth system.
“They have been doing a great job stepping into high school play,” Burkes said. “We also have four girls who have never played lacrosse before. We have been doing a lot to teach the new girls.”
Overall, the program’s numbers are low with 18 players. But Burke said there is a focus to continue growing the program with the pipeline from the youth program.
“I would love to get a junior varsity team going,” Burkes said. “With our youth program and stability, it will help grow the team from where it is now.”
For this season, the focus is on improving. Burkes said her goal for the Colts is to become a better team at the end of the year than they were at the beginning.
“I want to see the girls improve,” Burkes said. “I want to see development from the beginning until the end.”
Nathan Smith is a freelance writer.