HINGHAM — Five minutes into her senior season, Notre Dame (Hingham) girls’ lacrosse captain Kylie Wilson was already in full leadership mode.
As a teammate bent over, clearly in discomfort following another set of sprints on day one of tryouts Monday, the Middlebury College-bound standout from Scituate encouraged her to stay positive and upbeat.
”Come on,” Wilson said with a grin through her mask. “We didn’t get to do this last year [with the 2020 spring season canceled].”
Wilson will captain the defending Division 1 state champion Cougars alongside Davidson-bound Berit Cederlund (Duxbury), Villanova-bound Maggie Masuret (Scituate), and Stetson-bound Fiona Williams (Hingham).
Even after running sprints, Wilson was clearly in a chipper mood. She said there is a palpable buzz in school that carried over to the field as the nearly two-year wait is finally over.
“We’re trying not to take anything for granted,” Wilson said. “This is so exciting for us. It feels like Christmas.”
Head coach Meredith McGinnis, who was sporting crutches during the 2019 championship, will now coach this season while pregnant.
McGinnis called it a “dream come true” to be back on the field, pointing out that there’s a renewed sense of gratitude and excitement.
“It kind of feels like I did 11 years ago when I first started here,” McGinnis said. “You don’t know what to expect. You’re kind of building from scratch, and it’s exciting.”
McGinnis said the Cougars – who are scheduled to open this season Saturday, May 8, against Boston Latin – cherished the championship that summer and then put it behind them. Though they’re still technically the defending champs, she doesn’t view it that way. She knows other teams will be trying to knock off the Cougars this season, and she’s simply thrilled they get the chance to compete once again and try to carve out their own legacy.
Wilson said that while the state title was one of her favorite parts of the 2019 season, it wasn’t the clear No. 1 moment. The team that year made sure to soak in every step of the way and appreciate the journey, not just the result, and the captains plan to keep the same approach this year. They weren’t sure they’d get a season or a tournament in any capacity, and they’re extremely grateful they get the full experience once again.
Cederlund credits the 2019 seniors for proving to the younger players that it was possible to win it all, noting that the Cougars now know what it takes and are prepared to pursue that goal again. She also praises the 2020 seniors for keeping a positive attitude during the pandemic and giving everyone hope during a bleak situation.
The way this year’s captains view it, this season is not only for the 2021 team but also for the 2020 seniors who never got the chance to lead the team on the field.
“Huge shoutout to them,” Cederlund said. “They were amazing. They embodied everything NDA lacrosse is, and we’re happy to play this year for them. I’m just super excited to have another chance to play. We’re going out with a bang.”