By John Garner Jr., Cape Cod Times
One of the fastest growing sports on Cape Cod is girls lacrosse with hundreds of young women participating at the high school, junior high and youth levels.
Look no further than Buzzards Bay for definitive proof as two local natives serve as captains of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy women's lacrosse team.
Seniors Ashley Solari of Sandwich and Kianna Carpenter of Sagamore Beach, along with junior Mikayla Correia, are MMA's tri-captains.
"I've been watching Ashley, Kianna and Mikayla develop the last three years, and their leadership has helped our program grow over that time span," said MMA first-year head coach Marc Palombo, a Sandwich resident who served as a Bucs assistant the past four years. "Ashley is a strong offensive player who came up through the Sandwich (youth) program, while Kianna is our go-to defender who takes charge back there."
Other top local players are senior attack Christina Murphy (Forestdale), who compiled 19 goals and seven assists last spring, and junior midfielder Brianna Pingree (Mashpee), who was injured last season.
Palombo welcomes back an experienced squad that includes 11 letter-winners and nine starters, including junior attacker Stephanie Hunt. She posted a team-record 43 goals and 20 assists for 63 points and has surpassed 100 career points in 28 contests.
Solari also shined on attack with 20 goals and 17 assists, while Dahlia Seggelin converted eight goals and 11 assists while leading with 61 draw controls.
Top midfielders include senior Stephanie O'Connor and sophomore Meghan Petruzziello, who combined for nine goals and six assists for 15 points.
Carpenter leads the Bucs defense, totaling 33 ground balls and causing 22 turnovers last season. Senior Cassandra Charpentier had 14 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers, while sophomore Erica Overstreet moves from midfield, where she scored 20 goals and had five assists. Freshman Heather Seggelin joins sister Dahlia on defense. Correia returns as starting goalie after recording four victories and 134 saves last year.
MMA plays a 15-match schedule, hosting UMass Dartmouth, Regis, Simmons, Becker and Elms, Salem State, Worcester State, Bridgewater State and Framingham State. The Bucs travel to Maine Maritime for the third annual Maritime Classic on Saturday and Sunday.
"Our girls have attained a good skill level with everyone having more game experience than any time in the program's history," said Palombo. "We still don't have great numbers, but quality of play is certainly there."