LINCOLN --– Lacrosse is a game where goals are often scored in large numbers and multiple tallies by any one individual is not uncommon.
But for Lincoln High junior Jillian DeSimone this spring, it just may be bordering on the ridiculous.
DeSimone has averaged more than eight goals per outing in nine league games for the Lions in Division II. On Wednesday, it was status quo for the high-scoring attack as she netted 10 scores – all coming in the first half – to lift the unbeaten Lions to a rather routine 22-13 decision over North Providence at Ferguson Field.
DeSimone increased her state-leading total to 75 goals for the season. That’s already 29 more than the 46 she scored last year as a sophomore.
She believes some intense work over the summer at a Holy Cross lacrosse camp, has made a big difference in her rapid transformation into a legitimate, high-scoring player.
“Last year I just really wanted to work on my skills and figured I would go to the Holy Cross Camp because it’s only 40 minutes away. Also my sister also goes there,” she said. “I went there just to work on my stick skills.”
“My shots have been a lot better compared to last year,” she continued. “I am a lot quicker with my shot. It’s not taking me as long to get the shot off. I have been working on snapping my wrist.”
“She is a great player and she is only a junior,” said Lincoln coach Susan Renzi. “She’s a fabulous athlete and a great player. It’s her experience. She has learned how to play lacrosse…She always picks it up and she controls the play on the field. She’s just an awesome player.”
DeSimone also believes her talented teammates, have enabled her to become more of a go-to player.
“I think our passing as a team has gotten a lot better,” she said. “We are looking for the open players. That’s basically it. We have just improved as a team.”
Speaking of the team, the Lions have manufactured quite a spring campaign. In its previous nine years, Lincoln has never won more than four games in a season, including a 2-10 mark in 2010.
With yesterday’s victory over the Cougars (1-7), the Lions improved their first-place record in Div. II-North to 9-0. Lincoln has scored 131 goals against its opponents and allowed 75.
“I think just as a team we have really evolved,” DeSimone said. “We learned to play with each other and work on each other’s weaknesses. I just think that over the years we have developed a stronger team. The girls are a lot closer. We have a lot a team bonding now. I think just as a team we have evolved and developed more skills.”
DeSimone has been the offensive star this season, but the Lions have also gotten contributions from such players as sophomore attack Kristen Giarusso, senior attack Erin Sharkey, sophomore attack Brittany Redding and sophomore midfielder Ashley Moreau. Junior wing Aiden Cullen and senior wing Nora Kinslow have led the defensive unit.
“These girls have all come as freshmen and have never played before,” Renzi said. “It takes them a little time to get going. I just have a really good athletic group of players this year and there are a lot of them. They have really stepped up to the plate this year.”
The Lincoln coach admitted she was not overly surprised with her team’s outstanding start this season with just five games remaining on the league schedule.
“You could see that it was coming,” Renzi said. “This is going to be their year, I think. And I only have three seniors. They are all very young. I knew they would be this good. The talent is there. They are very fast and their stick work gets better and better and better.”
In addition to DeSimone’s effort in yesterday’s game – she played limited time in the second half – Lincoln also had a trio of hat tricks from Giarusso, Sharkey and Moreau. Freshman Serena Balon and sophomore Rose Tracy also found the net.
Lincoln returns to Ferguson Field on Friday when it plays host to East Providence. DeSimone says there’s some added tenseness each time the unbeaten Lions win another game, but everyone is taking it in stride.
“There’s definitely a lot more pressure now than in previous seasons,” she said “We take one game at a time. We are always prepared for our competition and I definitely can see us being in the playoffs.”
North Providence 6 7 – 13
Lincoln 14 8 – 22
Lincoln scoring – Jillian DeSimone 10, Erin Sharkey 3, Serena Balon 1, Rose Tracy 1, Brittany Redding 3, Kristen Giarrusso 3.
Saves – L, Nina Fournier 8. NP, Mary Francis Murphy 5, Kerissa Vadenais 7.