WOOD RIVER JCT. — In a number of ways, this season set the bar for future Chariho High girls’ lacrosse teams.
The Chargers earned their first Division III state championship while Jenna Brierly and Paige Pajarillo, who both earned Division III All-Class honors, established high individual watermarks.
Brierly’s name in particular will be at the top of the Chargers’ scoring record lists at least for the near future.
The senior attackman holds the season and career goal and assist records for Chariho.
“She’s extremely competitive with the records,” Chariho coach Michelle Tebbets said. “I remember when she tied the record for goals in a game this season she asked me at halftime what the record was. It’s good that our girls will have something to shoot for in future years.”
Brierly finished her career with 112 goals and 49 assists. Her 68 goals in 2014 broke Mattie Russell’s record (2013) of 57. Brierly also has the season assist record with 24 and shares the single-game goals record with Russell, Hannah Baker and teammate Pajarillo.
“Her game works really well behind the net,” Tebbets said. “We started putting two girls behind the net this year. She’s always asks questions and always wants to be the first to know why something’s working or why it isn’t because she wants to score goals.
“She has great stick skills and is always pushing toward the net. She’ll push toward the net even if there are two or three defenders in the way, which doesn’t always make me happy, but she’s really determined to score and she’s never satisfied with her performance.”
Pajarillo, who made the switch from midfield to attack this season, had a career offensive season with 42 goals and 19 assists.
Tebbets said Pajarillo made her presence felt both verbally and on the score sheet.
“She’s a really vocal player who gives a lot of the other girls confidence when she’s on the field,” Tebbets said. “I remember in out championship game against Pilgrim she scored a goal to start our rally and she was excited, but she also looked mad almost like she was telling everyone else to get going. Then she scored the tying goal later.
“It just shows the impact she made on our team, that she was able to elevate her game in a situation like that.”
Tebbets said Pajarillo’s knowledge of the game and her intelligence is her best attribute.
“She’s a great leader and a player. She saw varsity time even as a freshman. She’s really smart, in fact, she is a self-proclaimed ‘nerd.’ She showed everyone on the team that you can be really smart and still be a really good player.
“She’s also really aggressive and really good on ground balls. Any time there was a ground ball she would fight for it, she never gave up.”
Pajarillo finished fourth on the all-time Chariho goal list with 71. Tahlia Maron (2012) was second with 96 and Russell was third with 87.
All-Class honors are awards for the best players in Division III-North and South combined.
Both Pajarillo and Brierly made second-team Division III-South in 2013.
Center-midfielder Abby Cuddy was one of four Chargers to make the Division III-South first team.
Cuddy, a junior, was Chariho’s faceoff specialist.
“She won a lot of draws by just popping it up and grabbing it over the head of the other player,” Tebbets said. “She’s 6 feet tall and she plays basketball so she was able to do that. We won most of the draws this season and it was because of her.”
Cuddy scored 17 goals this season.
“She’s a really good athlete, but it was amazing to me that teams just seemed to lose her. She would just get free and Jenna or Paige would feed her the ball and she’d just shoot it right in.”
The first-team honor was Cuddy’s first postseason award.
Junior Sam Orciari also earned a spot on the Division III-South first-team.
Orciari scored 21 goals and assisted on 11 others in 2014. She was also the MVP of the Division III championship game against Pilgrim and scored three goals in that contest.
“Sam played the lower position on offense,” Tebbets said. “Her job was to take the pass from the defense or the midfielder and bring it into the offensive zone. She had very reliable stick skills and sees open lanes very well.
“She knows when to push it and when not to. She got a lot of calls because of that and ended up with a lot of shots off free possessions. She doesn’t have the hardest shot, but she knows where to go with it.”
Orciari had not earned an award prior to this season.
Junior defensive midfielder Savannah Dube also garnered a spot on the Division III-South first-team.
“I played her at midfielder and at defense,” Tebbets said. “She’s really effective on defense, but she likes being on offense and scoring goals.
“She has great footwork, which really helps her on both ends of the field, and has great stick work. In a game against Mount St. Charles she must have had two or three intercepts in the defensive zone. She also has great dodges and can get through almost any double-team.”
Dube scored nine goals this season and earned her first postseason award.
Senior defender Emily Manning was the final Chariho player to earn a spot on the Division III-South first-team.
“She was our captain and played way down low on defense,” Tebbets said. “She takes on a lot of the responsibility in the defensive end.
“She’s always on top of the ball, she’s very aggressive. She knows how to play around the crease. When she needs to make a decision about which player to go after she makes the decision quickly and usually makes the right one.”
Manning was also a first-time award winner.
Junior Amanda Picozzi garnered her first career award with a second-team Division III-South honor.
Tebbets said Picozzi often shadowed the opposing team’s best player and loved playing defense.
Junior goalkeeper Maddie Newman rounded out the Chargers’ postseason award winners with a second-team Division III-South honor — also her first award.
Newman replaced Kaitlin Dolloff, who graduated in 2013. Tebbets said that Newman put in a lot of work in the offseason and came in ready to play despite having only one game of varsity experience prior to this season.