1st Ranked St. Anthony’s Lady Friars Team Preview

After much anticipation it’s probably no secrete that the top overall team in our top 20 rankings are the Friars of St. Anthony’s. Historically they are always one of the top teams in the entire country. They have won the CHSAA Championship 12 of the last 13 years, showing the dominance that they have built is a long lasting dynasty. This year they have added a new voice to the coaching staff with Jack Kensil taking the reigns as offensive coordinator, and he gave his perspective on their team in 2023. “Alongside Coach Summer Koepplin and this awesome group, I hope to bring a high-powered player’s offense to the program, one that puts them in a position to maximize their strengths and play confidently. I’m excited for our schedule, featuring 4 top 10 ranked teams in the country at the end of 2022. Developing the seniors stepping into bigger roles this season, they are a great group that care so much about the team.”

With so much depth on this year’s team the Friars have a number of key returning players that have only gotten better from the end of last year to the start of this season. Among their elite returning core is the junior UNC commit Tess Calabria at midfield. She’s one of the top players in the country, doing a multitude of things that make her a generational talent. She is an elite offensive playmaker that can get wherever she wants on the field, she can dominate on the draw circle, and puts pressure on the defense when in transition with her decision making. Also in this junior class bound for UNC is Megan Kenny who is arguably the fastest player on the island. Kenny clears the ball in a blink, and can attack the cage from up top with an extremely quick first step to blow by most defenders.

Adding to their returning group are seniors Kate Licciardi (captain, Lasalle), Bridget Darcy (Amherst), Sam DiCarlo (Hopkins), and Kacey McGorry. Although currently out due to an injury, one of their leaders on this team who is also a team captain is Rose Christie (Villanova).

Defensively they welcome back the Duke bound junior Amanda Paci and junior Kate McConnachie (Colombia). Anchoring the net will be the combination of a trio of division one bound goalies with senior Shae Lembo (Stanford), and juniors Lexi Zenk (UNC), and Stella Quilty (Rutgers). Having a trio of high level goaltending gives the Friars a luxury that no other team can say that they have which allows them play each goalie at different times whether it’s to ride the hot hand or go based on particular matchups.

This season the team has a plethora of 2024’s that will now be on varsity after playing JV in 2022. In the winter league they all showcased that they are ready for prime time and could have an impact on the success of the team. At attack Ashley Greene (Old Dominion), and Riley Zusi (Ohio State) could be key offensive players. Midfielders Jena Binkis (USF), Emily Haugen (Hopkins), Holly Hardwick (Holy Cross) and Brooke Long (Stony Brook) add to the tremendous depth at that position. Two defenders that stood out and will add to their elite defense to round out this ’24 class are Maddie Morris (USF) and Emily Ambrozy.

Overall they return the majority of last year’s team, but will be without  some top talent who graduated in the class of 2022 including Ava Biancardi, Abby Locascio, Kate McAteer, and Taylor Cullen.

Looking at their 2023 schedule, they play four nationally ranked top 10 teams as coach Kinsel alluded to, and they also play a number of high level public schools on Long Island in the Power conference. Some of their notable matchups include Wantagh (4/1), Suffern (4/5), Canandaigua (4/13),Victor (4/15) Sacred Heart (4/17), Cold Spring Harbor (4/21), Darien (4/29), New Canaan (5/6), Sacred Heart (5/8), and Manhasset (5/11).


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