(March 29, 2019) Chris Williams was the coach of the Worcester Prep Middle School program for three seasons and this year he has taken over the girls’ varsity team.
He has coached most of the girls’ on his squad before, which made the transition from middle school to varsity go smoothly.
“I’m beyond excited to have the chance to coach these girls,” he said. “I want these girls to have their best season of lacrosse ever, beyond wins. I want them to get better at something every day and have no regrets at the end of the season.”
Williams said his core values are the same, he just had to change his style a bit.
Last year he was named a national finalist for the Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal Coach Award. He was selected from nearly 800 nominations nationwide. Williams won the Mid-Atlantic level award.
Positive Coaching Alliance honors youth and high school coaches annually who embody the ideals of Double-Goal Coach who strive to win while also pursuing the goal of teaching life lessons through sports.
“That’s my core belief as a coach,” Williams said. “It’s a balance of the desire and need to win, with also the goal to develop players into the best they came be. It’s not about winning at all cost, although it is important [to win]. We’re trying to make them better people through the game of lacrosse.”
Williams is also a Beach Lacrosse and Saltwater Lacrosse Club coach. He is the director of girls’ lacrosse and on the board of directors for both organizations.
Kip Koolage, who was with the team last year, assists him. Kyra Gangemi is the JV head coach and will also assist with varsity.
Eleven of the 23 players on Williams’ roster competed in 2018, when the team went 13-3. The Lady Mallards captured their sixth Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference tournament title in 2018.
Williams said the team is deep with talent and a close-knit group. The girls are supportive of each other, he added.
“Mistakes are OK,” he said, but he wants the girls to learn from them.
“We’ve got some great senior leadership. Some of them have been playing a long time and they’re very skilled players,” Williams said. “We have a strong junior class as well. The upperclassmen are the strength of this team. We’ve got skill and leadership across the board.”
There are captains on the attack, midfield and defensive lines.
“We have leadership at every position,” Williams said. “The captains are an extension of the coaching staff on and off the field.”
Leading the team as captains are seniors Chloe Ruddo (defense), Gracie Gardner (attack) and Delaney Abercrombie (midfield), and junior Carly Hoffman (midfield).
“We have a lot of returning varsity players, which is exciting. Hopefully I’ll be in good enough shape to help out on defense and offense, and get the ball up the field,” Abercrombie said. She has been a member of the team since she was a freshman. “I think we definitely want to become really close as a team, that’s always a goal, and just being able to improve and have fun.”
Ruddo has also been on the team since her freshman year. She will help lead the group with her experience and her voice.
“I’m more of a talkative leader,” Ruddo said. “We lost a lot of players last year, especially on defense, so it’s kind of a learning period for us.
“I like playing low [defense] because I’m very educated in the game and, playing so far back, I can see the whole field and help direct [teammates], and kind of help the goalie,” she added. “It might take us a little bit to get into a rhythm but, when we do, I think it will be good.”
Hoffman scored 42 goals and had nine assists last year. She won 96 draws and scooped up 26 ground balls. She was named ESIAC co-Player of the Year.
Hoffman, Abercrombie and Gardner received All-ESIAC accolades for their performance last year. Ruddo earned honorable mention distinction.
Junior Madison VanOrden also returns and will play in the midfield. She took home All-ESIAC honors last season.
Juniors Abbi Nechay and Aly Matha will play on the attack and Quinn McColgan in the midfield/defense.
Senior Clare DeMallie and sophomore CC Lizas will split time in the goal.
“Both have played phenomenally well,” Williams said. “We’re equally confident in both of them.”
Freshman Myranda Beebe is new to the team, but she will contribute in the midfield and on the attack. Beebe played for Williams last year. She was the middle school team’s leading scorer (46 goals and 23 assists) and MVP.
Team goals this year include winning another ESIAC championship.
“That’s always the goal and just to get closer as a team,” Ruddo said.
“I’ve been blown away with the development so far. They’ve really bought into what we’re trying to do,” Williams said. “I’m confident we’re going to surprise a lot of teams this year. I wouldn’t take our team lightly.”