Bellingham Looking To Make The Jump
New Bellingham Girls’ Lacrosse Coach Peter Kelleher has high hopes for his team this season. Photos used courtesy of BHS Lacrosse.
By Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Last spring the Bellingham girls’ lacrosse team was only able to secure a single win in 21 contests while scoring a mere 53 goals (an average of 2.5 per game). First year Blackhawks coach Peter Kelleher is hoping to change all that this season.
“This team has the talent and from what I’ve seen so far they can shoot the ball,” the new Coach said. “I just can’t understand why they couldn’t score more than 53 goals, especially with the shooters on this team. I am hoping that with a new system in place they’ll be able to get open more.”
Kelleher moved to Bellingham a few years ago and was looking to get involved with the youth lacrosse program in town, but Ella Lage, who is on the high school lacrosse team and works at camp Bow Wow, where Kelleher takes his dog, informed him of the opening at the High School. With that knowledge he put his name in the hat and was lucky enough to have been chosen.
Having never coached girls before Kelleher wanted to surround himself with people who could help him in the ways of coaching the opposite sex. With that Sarah Saillant will be on the sidelines with him as the Bellingham assistant coach.
The Blackhawk coaches will be beginning their tenure at Bellingham with only three seniors, so they will definitely be looking to build a strong foundation within the program while growing the core of the team so that they have some sort of leadership next spring. Thus far, according to Kelleher, the girls all understand what he and Saillant are implementing and trying to do.
The first goal at hand in building for the future is to make sure that all the girls have their skills of the game up to speed. Once that is accomplished Kelleher feels confident that the squad can be competitive within the Tri-Valley League top to bottom.
“We want to show the league that we are not a pushover and that we will be competitive with them this year and will be coming after them next year,” Kelleher said. “I also want the seniors to go out on a good note.”
The trio of seniors taking the field for Bellingham this spring will be co-captains goalie Sarah Kidd and attack Ella Lage as well as midfielder and attack Madison Ferreira. The three are all in at helping the first-year coach in developing the younger players so that the program has a promising future.
“All three seniors are coachable and taking their new roles to heart,” the coach said. “Sarah is strong and fearless in the net and communicates well; she is the quarterback of the team. Madison has the talent to put the ball on net and score, while Ella has not scored a varsity goal yet. My number one goal for her is to get her there, giving her more freedom while positioning her to get that opportunity.”
According to the consensus of the team Bellingham really didn’t have much of an offense in place last season and that is something that Kelleher and Saillant are looking to change.
“When we scored eight goals in a scrimmage earlier in the season it was the most goals that they had scored in a single game,” he said. “As a coach you can see the individuals who have played the game and they’re playing much looser and with smiles. The girls told me that last year was more of a punishment instead of fun; we’re looking to change all that.”
Kelleher will be looking for junior midfielder Rebecca Pippitt to make an impact on this year’s team. The coach said the midfielder is called the “Draw Queen” and has shown that she has a phenomenal talent in winning a majority of her draws and that in turn gets the offense moving in the right direction.
Other girls the coaches are hoping to take a step forward and make a name for the team are sophomores Luci Walden, a transfer from BVT who was a varsity starter last year, attacks Jocelyn Zahn and Samantha McNamara, both legitimate threats. Two other sophomores the coach has on his radar are Abigail Pelletier and Abigail Wallace.
As the team prepares for its opening game against Norton, the Bellingham Coaches are very optimistic in what this group of girls can accomplish.
“We have a lot of younger athletes that have already shown maturity and are working really well with one another,” Kelleher said. “Being that the girls are working together is something that I have rarely seen coaching boys as they usually have more of a me first attitude. With this team mentality and everyone on the same page, coaches, and players, I feel this year is going to be a step in the right direction at building a strong foundation for this program and the years to come.”