Colleges Recruit Four Seneca Valley Girls Lacrosse Players
The team finished runner-up last season in the WPIAL championship game.
Most high school varsity teams would feel fortunate to rally around one senior player recruited to play at the college level.
The Seneca Valley High School girls lacrosse team has four.
Considering they finished runner-up last season in the WPIAL championship game, that makes the Raiders an obvious choice as a group to watch as the cold and rainy spring sports season evolves toward May and the playoffs.
“You can be a great player, but to be a player who can play at the college level means you’re a hard-worker,” Seneca Valley coach Dina Hughes said. “That means not just putting in hard work at practice and keeping your focus during the off-season, but enjoying the game.”
Senior defender Brenna Gallager is heading to Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she liked not only the campus and sports facilities, but the academic programs.
“After choosing from all my other options, that’s where I wanted to be,” she said.
Gallager credits club programs surrounding the varsity program for helping the Raiders improve their basic skills.
“We’re more competitive, and everyone now really takes it more seriously,” she said.
Senior mid-fielder and team leader Taylor Nayeda selected Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., near the lacrosse-rich St. Louis area, as her future team.
“I visited a ton of schools, and even though this one is 10 hours away, it was the best,” she said. “Going to the WPIAL final last year was really fun, and with all the great athletes we have here, who knows what will happen next?”
Nayeda also takes the draws at center, so offensive possessions start with her.
Senior goalie Lauren Moran, a third-year starter, made Gannon University her choice.
Hughes said Moran is considered a “quarterback” of the team even though she plays a defensive role.
“Lauren is a veteran and she’s aware of what’s going on even on offense, and a lot of times the game stems through her,” the coach said. “She might be one of our quieter seniors, but she definitely makes her presence known during the games.”
Moran said she sees a lot of talent coming up through the program.
“I see a lot of the younger girls, and I think it’s the way we all work together that distinguishes us,” she said. “I think we should be proud of how far we’ve come playing all those schools in the playoffs last year, and I think we’re starting to realize what we can do working together.”
Senior attacker Sam Struss, a former North Hills lacrosse player who will attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., next year, said one of the keys to the Raiders’ success is the athletic ability of the girls.
“We have great team chemistry, but we’re also a bunch of good athletes, and we work well together,” she said.
Hughes said teams always know where Struss is on the field and keep their best defenders against her.
“Every one of our opponents knows Sam, because Sam is an excellent attacker and has scored a lot of goals,” Hughes said. “She’s a leader on offense and she has so much passion about lacrosse. She goes 150 percent on offense and everything we do. A lot of the younger girls look up to her because of her skill as a shooter. She’s an amazing shooter and has a hard shot. She sometimes intimidates even her own teammates.”