AHS girls lacrosse celebrate winning season on senior night

The Amsterdam Lady Rams lacrosse team put the finishing touches on their winning 2016 season with a 17-4 victory over the Lady Bulldogs junior varsity on senior night on Wednesday at Lynch Literacy Academy. Unlike most senior nights, the graduating members of the AHS team had never played at the varsity level. But, every one of them shared the responsibility for setting the team on its way to the next level.

Amsterdam Coach Jessica Byerwalters said the team may play at the varsity level as early as next year.

“I’ve already applied for us to be varsity,” she said.

The win on Wednesday completes a winning season for the team with ten wins and only seven losses. The overall record was a vast improvement from the initial season in which the Lady Rams managed only one win, and the senior members of the squad played an important role in the teams’ success.

“They were the backbone of the team,” Coach Byerwalters said. “All of them played different positions and became good lacrosse players.”

The five seniors including captain Diana Constantine, Victoria Hope-Sayers, Kaitlyn Burkhart, Malina Rivera, and Alliyah Thomas were honored along with their family members in a post game ceremony. Constantine and Hope-Sayers were not present for the game, but the team had a cardboard likeness of Constantine for the ceremony and a team photo.

“Some of the seniors are upset that they’re done playing right now,” Coach Byerwalters said. “They could still go on to a higher level and improve.”

The possibility of an Amsterdam girls lacrosse player becoming the first since Cara Gorman to play in college is now closer to reality with a varsity level team on the horizon. Gorman was the goal keeper for the Amsterdam boys varsity team in the late 1990’s and went on to play womens’ college lacrosse at the University of Maryland from 2000-2003. Amsterdam returns a talented group for next year including juniors Hope Adair, Victoria Barone-Lopez, Olivia Brahler, Kateland Cooks, and Britney Potter, who teamed up to score 12 of the teams’ 17 goals on Wednesday.

“We have a big junior class that will be seniors next year,” Coach Byerwalters said. “Some of them have already been on the team for two years.”

And that experience will be important as the level of competition increases at the varsity level. Both Adair and Barone Lopez were also captains this year and their leadership on the field will factor into the Lady Rams initial season at the varsity level. Juniors Paloma Malave, Gianna Petrone, Cinderae Chrzanowski, and Ashley and Mya Searles contributed to this years winning team and will also be counted on to provide leadership to a younger group that includes Davia Iorio, Lydia Iorio, and Briana Ziobro. But, even the younger Lady Rams are no stranger to taking charge. Sophomore goalkeeper Paige Bertuch is the captain of the Amsterdam varsity girls swim team, and sophomore attacker/midfielder Lucia Liverio is the point guard for the Amsterdam varsity basketball team.

Continuing the success of any athletic program often involves encouraging participation at a young age. And while there are no immediate plans for a modified team, the possibility of a youth program has increased now with a boys youth program in place, a girls youth team may not be far away.

“We need to get girls started in lacrosse at a younger age,” Coach Byerwalters said. “I’d like to establish a youth program before a modified team.”

And according to Byerwalters, the interest is there.

“A lot of girls have come up to me and said they want to try out,” Coach Byerwalters said.

As for Wednesday’s game, the Lady Rams took an 11-4 lead over South Glens Falls at halftime. Hope Adair and Lucia Liverio each scored three goals in the first 25 minute period. Victoria Barone Lopez scored twice, and Kateland Cooks, Britney Potter, and Briana Ziobro each score a goal.

Adair added two more goals in the second half for a game high five scores. Liverio and Barone-Lopez also scored twice more giving them each four for the game, and Olivia Brahler added a goal making it seven Lady Rams in the scoring column. Paige Bertuch made four saves in the net for AHS. Amsterdam took 24 shots with 17 finding the back of he South High net.

The Amsterdam girls lacrosse team will also be taking part in a showcase event that the Amsterdam Youth Lacrosse program is hosting at Lynch Literacy Academy on Saturday, June 11. It is an all day tournament event featuring youth lacrosse teams from throughout the capital district.

The Amsterdam Youth Lacrosse program is also hosting a tournament and fundraiser event in Amsterdam on Saturday, June 25.

Amsterdam High School Lacrosse Alumni Facts:

Cara Gorman made an Amsterdam boys varsity lacrosse team record 26 saves in a game as a freshman.

Gorman graduated from the University of Maryland in 2003 and is an assistant coach with the Saint Michaels College (Vermont) womens lacrosse team.

The 2016 Amsterdam High School girls junior varsity lacrosse team will always be known as the first girls lacrosse team in school history with a winning record.

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.