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LILJ’s 21 Female Players to Watch for the 2021 Season

Maureen Duffy (2021, Midfield, Westhampton)- Virginia. Photo Taken by Desiree Keegan

What’s disappointing about the 2020 season getting cancelled is the fact that Long Island Lacrosse fans were robbed of seeing some great talent, especially seniors. It’s unfortunate that we are not going to be able to see some of these Seniors finish what they started in their high school careers, but the positive impact they have made on their programs will be felt for years to come.  There were a lot of girls that the fans were looking forward to watching in 2020, including some girls who were primed to have a breakout season. Now that the 2020 season is something that everybody wants to put behind them, let’s look forward to 2021. Going into 2021, there are some girls who have interesting situations going into next season that people might not be aware of. There is also some girls who you may not be too familiar with, but in 2021, you very well could be. There is also some girls who have some big shoes to fill in their respective programs. Here are the 21 female players to keep an eye on for the 2021 season. Click on each players name to view their highlight tapes.

Alexa Waters (2021, Defense/Midfield, Hauppauge)- Florida: Alexa Waters might be one of the most versatile players on all of Long Island. When it comes to her game on the defensive side of the ball, she shows a great lacrosse IQ, as she is able to read the opposing offensive. She is also very good at seeing the slides. She is also a lethal 1 v 1 defender, and communicates very well on both sides of the ball. She is also very legit on offense, as she put up 31 goals and 13 assists in 2019 for Hauppauge. Waters will be Hauppauge’s best player in 2021, and she will look to led  the Eagles to a playoff appearance.  

Amanda Dowler (2021, Attack/Midfield, Mount Sinai)- LIU Post: Dowler is a player who was ready to breakout in 2020, and she was ready to take her game to the next level. Dowler is a very under the radar player, who some people in the Long Island lacrosse community might not know about yet, but in 2021, you might be very familiar with her. Look for Dowler to be one of the players to step up on offense for the Mustangs in 2021.  

Ava Arceri (2023, Midfield, Smithtown East): Ava Arceri has already proven herself to be a big time Suffolk County Varsity girls lacrosse player in 2019 by putting up 27 goals ,dishing out 8 assists, and helping Smithtown East finish fourth in a very tough Suffolk County Conference A. What makes it even more special and unique is that Ava did that as an 8th grader!  It’s not a coincidence that Ava’s biggest strength on the lacrosse field is the draw circle because getting off to a good start is something that runs in the Arceri family. Ava’s older brother is Gerard Arceri, who is a stud faceoff specialist at Penn State, and her other older brother is Chris Arceri, who, like Gerard, is another stud faceoff specialist. Chris just recently graduated from Smithtown East and is heading off to play for Coach Murphy in the fall at UPenn. Look for Ava to continue to build on her already short but impressive track record, and look for Ava to continue the legacy of the Arceri name in 2021, but this time, it will be on the girls side. 

Ava Fernandes (2021, Attack, Longwood): Ava Fernandes was supposed to make her debut in a Longwood uniform in 2020. During the offseason, the Longwood Lions picked up a great addition to their program as Ava Fernandes decided to transfer out of Comsewogue. Without question, Fernandes will be the Lions top player, and look for her to lead the charge for Longwood in hopes of making the playoffs. Fernandes is also one of the top uncommitted 2021’s on Long Island. 

Emma LoPinto (2021, Attack, Manhasset): Florida: In my opinion, I think that LoPinto is the top girl in the class of 2021 in Long Island. LoPinto has had a great career so far in her two seasons on varsity for the Indians as she was able to score over 125 points, win 2 Nassau County Championships, win a state championship in 2018, and be named an All-American in 2019 as a Sophomore. LoPinto is an incredible athlete, who is a natural playmaker on the lacrosse field, and she is going to be a fun player to watch for the rest of her high school career, and her college career. Look for LoPinto to add to her already impressive resume in 2021 before she heads off to Gainesville.  

Erin Schaefer (2021, Midfield, Sayville)- Stanford: Throughout the offseason and the quarantine, Erin Schaefer was a player that the LILJ was looking forward to seeing play in 2020, and we feel the same way in 2021. This girl is the real deal! Schaefer has all of the tools that you look for in a great midfielder, as she can feed, score, and push the ball in transition at a high level. Schafer also has a great lacrosse IQ, and she plays with maximum effort and hustle every time she steps on the field. Erin and the rest of the Sayville girls are going to be extremely pumped up to get out there in 2021 as they will be playing in honor of their former teammate, Maddy Mergl, who tragically passed away in a car accident this year. Look for Erin and the rest of her Sayville squad to have a big year in 2021.  

Erin Schaefer (2021, Midfield, Sayville)- Stanford. Photo Taken by Timothy Butler.

Giana Murphy (2021, Midfield, ESM)- Stony Brook: Giana Murphy might have had the most active offseason out of any female lacrosse player on Long Island, as she made two life changing decisions. The first decision she made was transferring from Westhampton to Eastport South Manor. The second big decision she made was committing to play for Coach Spallina at Stony Brook. I was very intrigued to see how Murphy was going to adjust at ESM in 2020, but now Murphy is going to have to take on a bigger role for the Lady Sharks as they are graduating their two top players on offense in Ellie Masera (Stony Brook), and Sammy Filippi (Princeton). Look for Murphy to be one of ESM’s top offensive threats in 2021. 

Jordan Forte (2021, Midfield, Huntington)- Stony Brook : The cold hard fact for the Huntington girls lacrosse program is that one of their best players in school history, Abby Maichin is now off to Notre Dame, but they should not press the panic button because they have the right girl on their roster to be the face of the program, and that’s Jordan Forte. This girl is a valuable player, and what makes her valuable is that she is very skilled in all aspects of the game. She can score, feed, scoop up ground balls, cause turnovers, and even be a dominant force on the draw circle. Look for Forte to have a monster senior season in 2021.

Juliana Stanley (2022, Attack, Division): Juliana Stanley is already considered to some people as the one of the top female lacrosse players in Division’s school history, and that says a lot about her because she’s only in 10th grade, and has two more seasons left in her high school career. This girl is a special talent. Stanley already has 124 career points ranging from her 8th grade and freshman seasons, and I am very excited to see what she can do in her Junior season. Look for Stanley to be a highly touted player for college coaches once September 1st hits. 

Kate Timarky (2023, Midfield, Middle Country):  Kate Timarky had over 120 career points before she even attended a high school class! It’s pretty remarkable what this young gun has been able to accomplish in 7th and 8th grade. What makes Timarky’s accomplishments more impressive is that Middle Country plays in one of the toughest conferences in all of Long Island, and to put up those numbers as a 7th and 8th grader against some high caliber teams is pretty incredible. Sky’s the limit for this girl, and she is a player you must keep your eyes on for the next 3 seasons.  

Katie Vahle (2021, Goalie, ESM)- Arizona State:  Katie Vahle had a great season as a Sophomore season, and she was one of the big reasons why ESM was able to call themselves state champions in 2019. Vahle had 100 saves on the season, but one thing that doesn’t show on the stat sheet is that she came to play in big games, especially in the Suffolk County Championship game against West Babylon, where she had 10 saves including some big ones in the final minutes of the game. Looki for Vahle to pick up where she left off in 2021. 

Kaylie Mackiewicz (2022, Attack, Northport): Mackiewicz had a sensational freshman season in 2019 as she was Northport’s 4th leading scorer, and was a huge part of their state championship run. Now that Danielle Pavinelli, Alexa Gentile, and Kate McLam are all starting the next chapter of their lives, Mackiewicz is now the focal point for the Tigers on offense. Mackiewicz should be one of the most highly touted girls in the class of 2022, and look for her to take her game to new heights in 2021. 

Kiara Feibusch (2021, Attack/Midfield, Kings Park)- Pittsburgh: Feibusch is one of the most underrated girls in all of Long Island, and she deserves more attention then she currently gets. All of Feibusch’s coaches think very highly of her as they consider her to be a very dedicated and hardworking young lady, and a fearless competitor who rises to the challenge of playing top level competition. Feibusch should have a monster senior season in 2021, and she very well could be one of the top scorers in Suffolk County. 

Kiara Feibusch (2021, Attack/Midfield, Kings Park)- Pittsburgh.

Kimberly Greenblatt (2022, Midfield, Massapequa): 2021 will be a new regime for the Massapequa program as they have a new head coach in Erin Kollar. Massapequa also graduated a lot of key players in 2019 and 2020, and they are looking for somebody to step up and take charge, and I think Kimberly Greenblatt is the right person to do that. Greenblatt has all of the tools to become the franchise player at Massapequa. She already has experience on the varsity level as she was a starter in her freshman year, and she helped Massapequa get to the Nassau County Championship game in 2019. She’s excellent on defense, and she has great movement and vision on the fast break. Greenblatt will surely see greater time with the ball and will be pivotal to her team’s success in the coming years. Look for Greenblatt to have a breakout season in 2021. 

Lacey Downey (2023, Midfield, West Babylon): Lacey Downey could very well be the best out of all of the Downey sisters, which says a lot because all 3 of the Downey sisters have made a name for themselves in Long Island lacrosse.  Her oldest sister, Kayla had an outstanding high school career at West Babylon, and she is now an impact player at Stony Brook. Her other older sister, Ellie, just recently committed to Oneonta, and she’s been an impact player for West Babylon for the past two seasons. Lacey is a special talent. She started her varsity career when she was in 7th grade, and she put up 24 points that year. In her 8th grade season in 2019, Lacey took it up a notch as she was the Eagles third leading scorer with 54 points on a West Babylon team that was considered to be one of the best teams on Long Island. Look for Lacey to tear it up in her Sophomore season in 2021. 

Lola Leone (2021, Midfield, Bay Shore)- Navy: The 2020 Bay Shore girls team was going to be in the mix for one of the top teams in Suffolk County conference A along with Northport, Ward Melville, Riverhead, and Smithtown East. The Lady Marauders were going to be a fun and exciting team to watch, and Lola Leone was going to be one of the reasons why. Now that Ali Susskind, Kerry Walser, and Caroline Casey are all heading off to play division 1 college ball, this is now Leone’s team, and I am very excited to see what she can do. What makes Leone a great player is that she is a do it all midfielder that can be a force on the draw circle and the ground ball game. She is also a big time goal scorer as well. Look for Leone to have a huge season in 2021. 

Maddigan Miller (2021, Midfield, Bayport)- Stanford: Maddigan Miller is going to come into the 2021 season with a huge chip on her shoulder. 2020 was supposed to be Bayport’s year, as they were ranked number 1 in our preseason rankings, and the Lady Phantoms were chomping at the bit to get over the hump this year. The cold hard fact for Bayport is that they graduated a lot of great seniors in 2020, but this team under Coach Ryan Gick is still very talented, and they are still primed to do damage in 2021. Next season, Maddigan Miller will be the leader of the team, and it’s going to be fun to see what she can do. Miller is a phenomenal two way midfielder, who shows a great amount of hustle, heart, and effort on both sides of the ball. She is also a big time goal scorer and playmaker. Miller will look to end her high school career with a championship run.  

Madison Taylor (2022, Midfield, Wantagh): Madison Taylor absolutely lit it up as a freshman in 2019. She put up ridiculous numbers as a freshman as she had 48 goals, and she was almost automatic on the draw circle. Taylor is a gifted athlete, as she is also an impact player for Wantagh’s varsity basketball team. Taylor is going to be a fun player to watch for the next 2 seasons, and look for her to be a dominant force for the rest of her high school lacrosse career. 

Maggie Long (2022, Midfield, Holy Trinity): Maggie Long arguably could have had one of the best rookie seasons on the varsity level as a freshman in 2019. What Long did in 2019 was special. To start, she had 52 goals and 42 assists, she was named the player of the year in the Class “A” Catholic League, and she was the main reason why Holy Trinity won the CHSAA class A state championship. Now that Long has some varsity lacrosse experience under her belt, it’s going to be very interesting to see what else she can accomplish in the next couple of seasons. Long is no doubt a must see player that you should keep your eyes on. 

Maureen Duffy (2021, Midfield, Westhampton)- Virginia: Maureen Duffy has been an impact player for Westhampton for 4 seasons now. She started her varsity lacrosse career when she was in 7th grade, and she has over 100 career points despite not even stepping on the field for her Junior season. Duffy has been a vital part over the last couple of years in Westhampton’s growth and success as a program. For years now, Duffy was going to be looked as the player who will fill the shoes for Isabelle Smith once she graduates, and in 2021, It’s Maureen Duffy’s time to shine, and it’s her team now. It’s going to be interesting to see if Maureen Duffy can have a storybook ending to a terrific high school lacrosse career. 

Nicole Fanelli (2021, Midfield, Syosset)-USC: Now that Kayla Gulmi’s (Villanova) and Kendall Halpern’s (Northwestern) time at Syosset is done, Nicole Fanelli will be the leader on offense for the Braves. This girl can flat out play. Fanelli can best be described as a player who is fierce and aggressive. She is constantly moving all over the field, and she shows  a tremendous amount of heart and passion for this game and her teammates. She is also very explosive with the ball in her stick, and she’s a natural born leader. Fanelli will have big time potential to do damage for the Trojans in a couple of years, but in the meantime, look for Fanelli to have a stellar season in 2021 for the Braves in hope of winning a Nassau County Championship. 

Nicole Fanelli (2021, Midfield, Syosset)- USC

 

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