Hudson girls lacrosse drawing on lessons of pandemic in preparation for 2021 season

Ashley Bastock
Kent Weeklies
Hudson's Kate Orazen (center) defends as Hudson girls lacrosse takes on Avon in a scrimmage on Wednesday.

Just over a year ago, the Hudson girls lacrosse team was getting ready for a scrimmage at Avon High School.

Coach Kyra Maludy, who is now entering her third year as the program's head coach and fourth year overall with the team, had no way of knowing it was the final time her squad would take the field for the year.

“The following day certain schools were shutting down,” Maludy said. “We were getting ready for picture day and another scrimmage and then everything shuts down. We're told OK this next week, spring break, that we are not to do anything with our players, we're supposed to quarantine. Then it was we'll be back halfway through April, and then the beginning of May, and then it was nothing at all. 

“It just kept being a perpetual cycle of we're going to have something, it's just this date. And so we kept changing our plans for it to all come down crashing and burning.”

The OHSAA ultimately canceled spring sports in late April.

The Explorers had 10 seniors on last year’s squad that didn’t get to compete for a final year, and as to be expected, that's had a lasting impact on the program. 

Hudson's Ryan St. Pierre (center) scores the first goal of the game as Hudson girls lacrosse takes on Avon in a scrimmage on Wednesday.

“It kind of felt like their world was ending,” Maludy said. “For the girls that were going on to play in college, I think they were able to brush it off a little easier because they were like 'I have another four years.' But for girls where this was it, it was a big blow for them to not have a senior season, which is exciting for any player, but especially I think at Hudson where we really try to bolster our seniors and make them feel the love and support after all the of the effort they've put in the last four years.”

Two years ago, Hudson put together a 14-4 record. Key returners in 2021 include seniors Jamison Cart, Maggie Murray, Kate Orazen and Emily Ritenour; as well as juniors Peyton Farley and Josephine Lawler.

Several varsity newcomers include sophomores Emma Palmer, Ryan St. Pierre and Lizzy Grant.

Hudson was able to begin workouts once again in January through senior-led workouts and open gyms.

But overall, Maludy said that the events of the last year have majorly impacted development — for example, it’s striking that this year’s seniors and juniors were sophomores and freshmen the last time there was a high school lacrosse season.

“It was almost an entire year before I saw my players again,” she said. “Getting them back in that mindset, they were so excited to play lacrosse again. I think our sophomores and juniors took the brunt of it because freshmen and sophomores last year, those are really big development years. So, to lose out on those, we now have juniors who maybe shouldn't be where they are developmentally, but we're still trying to give them that chance.

“We're looking at these kids as another year older, but they didn't have another year of learning like other sports did.”

When it comes to strengths of the Explorers going into this season, Maludy said one of the biggest strengths of her group is their willingness to learn and improve through self-assessment, and also praised them for their positive attitudes. 

But considering that all of her lacrosse athletes lost an entire high school season, Maludy said that overall, the events of the last year have helped to hammer home points that coaches and athletes talk about constantly.

“What hits home for a lot of players and teams is you hear the phrase of 'play every game like it's your last' or 'practice every day like it's your last,'” she said. “To actually have that happen I think really put into perspective for some of these girls that we don't always have a guaranteed next game or practice. Our girls this year have really come out with, even last year before we knew about this pandemic at all, our girls were coming out with intensity every day, which is so great to see.

“This year, even having lost an entire year, they still came back with that same intensity if not more. They are just so hungry and excited to be out there every single day. They are really taking to heart that this could very well be our last day and we're not going to waste it. “