The Zionsville girls lacrosse team accomplished exactly what they wanted to Monday night in their senior night contest with Avon.
The Lady Eagles had no problems winning their regular season finale 16-4, and got to relax a little bit before the grind of the post-season starts Friday night.
“We still have a few tough match-ups ahead of us, and it can be tough keeping them focused on senior night, but it was fun,” Zionsville head coach David Elefante said. “Everybody had fun, everybody played and it was a good competitive match-up.”
This was a special group of 10 seniors for Elefante, who coached them growing up before they got to high school.
The 10 — Kaija Kunttu, Molly Rainey, Maci Runkel, Annie Leonard, Elizabeth Martine, Lily Valentine, Isabella Lohmeyer, Lauren LaShell, Erica Punnunzio and Abbie Nutter were honored before the match, and have made a lasting impact on Zionsville girls lacrosse.
“I coached these girls in eighth grade, saw them come up through their careers and have been lucky enough to watch them the whole time,” Elefante said. “They have really gotten better in their fundamentals, and they are great people too. They have brought so much to this program and it’s been fantastic. They are true ambassadors of the sport and Zionsville.”
It took just 15 seconds for the seniors to start making an impact in the match on Monday.
Punnunzio scored to make it 1-0, and LaShell, Leonard, Lohmeyer and Kunttu scored to make it 5-0 before a second Punnunzio goal made it 6-0 just 10 minutes into the game.
Avon made it 6-2, but the Eagles made it 10-2 before the half with Taylor McNally-Henriksen, Leonard, Masi McNally-Henriksen and Lilly Yott all scoring.
“Our goal was to get up early and let our seniors play the whole night, and they did,” Elefante said. “They all played, they all had fun and that’s what it’s all about.”
The second half was more of the same for the Eagles.
Goals by Rainey and Pannunzio made it 12-2 early in the second half, and after an Avon goal made it 12-3, Leonard, Martine, Nutter and Leonard again made it 16-3.
Elefante said it was fun to mix around with the line-up and let the girls experience spots on the field where they haven’t played much this year.
“Goals are always the glamorous part of the game, but the defense works just as hard,” Elefante said. “If we can give some of those girls a shot on offense every once in a while, let them score a goal, it’s great.”
The Eagles are heading into the post-season with some momentum.
After having an April to forget with five-straight losses, they have won five-straight games through the month of may including one-goal wins over tough opponents in Bishop Chatard and Cathedral.
“We are on a nice little run,” Elefante said. “That was the first time we have beaten Cathedral in a while, and that really gave the girls the confidence they needed as they head into the postseason.”
The Eagles host Penn in the opening round of the state tournament on Friday night.
The two teams met on April 27, with Penn winning 16-5 in terrible weather conditions.
“We really want to play as a team,” Elefante said. “Not have just one or two people move the ball, but have the whole team and unit move the ball on offense, defense and transition. It’s something we have gotten better at. Ground balls and fundamentals will be important too. We have been working a lot on that, solidifying our defense and throwing a few more plays in. It will be a tough Penn team, but we are going to give it a shot.”