Varsity Girls Lacrosse: New Season, New Coach

Annie McGinnis

More stories from Annie McGinnis

The varsity lacrosse team raises their sticks before a match against Francis Howell in 2019. This was Coach Chris Elledge's final year of head coaching for the varsity lacrosse team, and Coach Renee Abrolat's final year as the assistant coach before being promoted to head coach for the 2020 season.

Media by Bob Miller

The varsity lacrosse team raises their sticks before a match against Francis Howell in 2019. This was Coach Chris Elledge’s final year of head coaching for the varsity lacrosse team, and Coach Renee Abrolat’s final year as the assistant coach before being promoted to head coach for the 2020 season.

Renee Abrolat, previously the varsity assistant lacrosse coach, stepped into the head coach position last season, hoping to grow the program after participating in it herself in high school.

“Getting the call saying I was going to be the new head coach of the girls lacrosse team felt surreal,” Abrolat said.

But then COVID-19 canceled the entire 2020 season.

After missing what would have been her initial head coaching experience, Abrolat eagerly awaits the upcoming season to adjust to her position and watch the athletes return to the sport they are passionate about.

Spring sports, including girls lacrosse, return for tryouts Monday, March 1. Recently the lacrosse team began preparation during the open fields preseason.

Abrolat said her coaching style varies between hands on and observational, and she implements new drills throughout practices to see how the athletes initially respond to them.

“I have been waiting too long to play a full field game, and I’m ready to bring it all out on the field,” Goring said.

“Getting the call saying I was going to be the new head coach of the girls lacrosse team felt surreal.””

— Renee Abrolat

“Having played myself, it is a little easier for me to see if a player is out of position or something else needs to be adjusted if I am in the middle of the drill,” Abrolat said.

She also finds it effective to talk with the athletes individually to recommend options on ways to improve their game on the field, such as small adjustments to their stick work, foot work or shot placement.

Abrolat said she looks for athletes who demonstrate not only fundamental skills, but dedication to improving and working to connect with their teammates and coaches.

Lacrosse parent Kathy Kilo, parent of Caroline Kilo, senior, said she respects former coach Chris Elledge’s work with the athletes, but looks forward to coach Abrolat continuing the varsity team’s success.

In previous seasons, when her daughter was coached under Elledge and Abrolat, the team embraced multiple victories, such as earning second in state in 2018 and beating the difficult MICDS girls Varsity team in 2019.

“Winning games is only one important part of a high school sport,” Kathy said. “Having a coach that believes in the players, is effective and is a positive role model to the players is an essential part as well.”

Kathy said she sympathized with the athletes over their cancelled season, especially Caroline, who was going to lead the varsity team as a captain last season. 

“I truly love watching Caroline and the other girls play in the games,” Kathy said. “The girls are so talented and it’s fun to be with all of the other players’ parents.”

Kathy looks forward to cheering on her daughter who will be experiencing her last season with the team.

“I have been waiting too long to play a full field game, and I’m ready to bring it all out on the field.””

— Riley Goring, senior

As someone who has been a member of the varsity lacrosse team for three years, Riley Goring, senior, created a bond with Coach Elledge. She admired how he consistently provided a fun practice environment for the athletes while also maintaining a drive to win.

Elledge resigned from head coach to move to Connecticut to support his wife in a residency program for doctor’s at Yale University.

“I was very sad when Elledge left, but I know that he was doing the right thing for his wife,” Goring said.

As strong as her bond was with Elledge, Goring said Abrolat will be a strong head coach replacement having previously observed her assistant coaching abilities throughout her varsity seasons.

Although lacrosse did not compete last season, Goring said Abrolat stepped into her head coach position and made positive decisions for the team for the limited season they had. 

Goring eagerly awaits the upcoming bonding, competitiveness and intense lacrosse season after the disappointment of not competing last year.