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SPRING NOTEBOOK: NW girls lacrosse program earns first win

Northwestern Lehigh School District started its varsity lacrosse program for in the 2019 season.

The Tigers went winless in that first season, before being shut down last season by the pandemic.

That left them longing for their first win in program history, which they achieved in their first game of the season.

Northwestern traveled to Bethlehem Catholic and put together a dominating 17-0 performance to pick up their first-ever win in program history.

“It was really important to get the win in that first game of the season,” said senior Bailey Scheffler. “We came out with the mentality that we wanted to win, and we were hungry to get that first win for the program because it meant a lot.”

The win over Bethlehem Catholic gave the team renewed confidence, but unfortunately, it had to go up against powerhouse Easton, and then lost games to Saucon Valley and Northampton to go 1-3 in its first four games. In its fifth game, the Tigers surprised a good Moravian Academy team in a 10-7 win for their second win in program history.

With both wins having come on the road, Northwestern’s next goal is to get the first home win in the program’s history.

The Tigers played a good Parkland team extremely tough earlier this week, but came up short in a 7-4 loss at Tiger Stadium.

“We wanted to start the year strong and make ourselves known, whether it’s against Colonial League or EPC teams, and I think we did that,” said Ali Lister. “Every game, we try to come in strong and catch teams off guard, and just play the best that we can to build the program.”

The district started a youth lacrosse program a few years before they began to play a varsity schedule. That provided a feeder system for at least some players to have gained some experience, but it couldn’t fully prepare the players for what playing at the varsity level was going to be like. The loss of last year’s spring season also limited the experience that players were able to get.

“Honestly, we just didn’t know a whole lot about lacrosse even though they had played youth games, but the varsity level is just so different,” said coach Lissa Opolsky. “We just have to realize that we’re going to make some mistakes, and we’re going to have some tough times, but if we keep working and stay focused, we should show progress every season. We have a lot of good athletes here at Northwestern, and with more players coming through the youth program, it’s going to keep getting better.”



... Bryn Clifford pitched a five-inning no-hitter to lead Tamaqua to an 11-0 nonleague victory over Mahanoy Area on Saturday. Clifford, who was also named the Times News/Lehigh Valley Health Network Female Athlete of the Week, walked just one and struck out 12 for the Blue Raiders. The junior has a 2.15 ERA in 52 innings pitched this season, with 76 strikeouts and 12 walks allowed.



... Several area track and field athletes have been rewriting their school record books early in the season. Weatherly’s Tim Maguschak set the school record in the 300 hurdles with a time of 52.5 during the Wreckers’ meet against Marian on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, Jim Thorpe’s A.J. Bailor’s mark of 56-3.5 in the shot put set a school record. Bailor had thrown down a 55-5 to win the event and set the school record last week against Tamaqua. Lehighton’s Kelsey Gaston won the 3200 with a school record time of 11:47.0 on Monday, breaking her sister Cera’s record of 11:52 set in 2017. Earlier this season, Weatherly’s Jacob Solinosky set the school record in the shot put (41-11.5) and discus (128-7.5), while Rhianne Markovchick set a new mark in the 100 hurdles (18.2). Jim Thorpe’s Lydia Wallace raced to a win in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.01 last week against the Blue Raiders, topping a mark previously set by Devon Matz. At the same meet, freshman Kaila O’Connor ran a record-setting time of 12.69 in the 100 for the Olympians.



... Corlan Wood had a monster day in Palmerton’s 92-58 Colonial League win over Notre Dame Green Pond on Tuesday. Wood won the pole vault, long jump, triple jump and high jump for the Blue Bombers (4-1). Wood currently has the second-best mark in the triple jump in the Colonial League (40-10.00), and third-best in the pole vault (11-0). He improved his mark in the pole vault Tuesday, clearing 11-3.



... With a go-ahead solo home run in the top of the eighth inning Wednesday, Megan Green not only lifted Palmerton past Notre Dame Green Pond, but she also recorded a home run in her third straight game. Green finished 4-for-5 on the day with three singles, a homer and three RBIs for the Blue Bombers (7-1, 6-0). The senior is hitting .520 (13-for-25) this season with 16 RBIs, three doubles, three homers and 13 runs scored. She has not struck out this season.



... Jim Thorpe’s Jared Marykwas has enjoyed a terrific start to the season. The senior went 10-for-10 with a double, two walks, one run scored and nine RBIs through the Olympians’ first three games. Marykwas recorded singles in his first three at bats in a 10-2 win against Weatherly on April 6 in the fourth game of the season to run his streak to 13-for-13 to start the year, before popping out to first base in his fourth at bat. He finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. The hot start also helped Marykwas earn Times News/Lehigh Valley Health Network Male Athlete of the Week honors for March 26-April 4.

Northwestern lacrosse players celebrate a goal during a match earlier this season. The Tigers posted the first win in program history when they beat Bethlehem Catholic in the season opener. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS