The Trumbull High School girls lacrosse team lost close to 12 seniors to graduation last season. Despite the youth, the Eagles are still planning on taking that next step when it comes to competing against all the elite competition they battle with on a yearly basis.

“I think the goals here is to work really hard,” THS senior captain Emily Uus said. “We have a lot of new players, so I want to make sure they know how to play together. Everybody on the team loves playing lacrosse and we do have some strong players all over the field. People need to be passionate about playing and do the best they can. That will be very important.”

Keeping in the tradition of quality captains, Trumbull girls lacrosse will be led this year by seniors Uus, Emma Moody and Emma Thornton.

“I feel honored to be a leader of this team,” Moody said. “I have been playing lacrosse since sixth grade, so to finally have that accomplishment is amazing. It’s great to lead this team. We have a lot of new players and a lot of talents on the team. I have a good feeling about this team. I want everybody to feel like they belong here. That’s one of my main goals.”

For head coach Chris Hamilton, having the trip as captains is a dream come true.

“I really don’t have to ask anything from them off the field because they are just exemplary students and amazing young women,” Hamilton said. “Because we have such a young team on the field, I need them to really show the freshmen the ropes and how to play varsity lacrosse. Last year for those freshmen it was TYL and it’s a different world now at the varsity level.”

Between the pipes for the Eagles will be Thornton, who was the backup goaltender last season. While it was hard for Thornton mentally not to play that much last season, Hamilton knew it was only a matter of time before she was a starter.

“She’s a phenomenal goaltender,” Hamilton said. “She’s so hungry to play right now. I sat her down on the bus ride home from Bethel last year and said that next season I’m going to be having this conversation with the girl behind you because you’re getting all the playing time. Emma is smart as can be and is really quick. She listens to instructions and is getting better all the time.”

Leading the way on defense will be senior Avery Collins, who is a three-year varsity lacrosse player. Not to be outdone is freshman Courtney Lynch, who has stepped up in a big way to be a go-to person at defense.

In addition, sophomore Sophia Picarazzi will see a bunch of minutes on defense when she returns from injury, as will senior Kelliann McCabe and junior Erin Garrity.

“We have about eight or nine girls on defense right now and it is a battle,” Hamilton said. “I have returning juniors and seniors this year, so it’s really up in the air who will step up. It’s going to be a really hard decision to see who will play at defense.”

At midfield, Trumbull will be bringing back Uus to lead the way, but also two returning sophomores, Emily Tinnesz and Sophia Hopwood.

Anchoring the attack will be senior captain Moody.

After taking two freshmen on the varsity roster last season, Hamilton has doubled that this time around, thanks in part to the stellar teaching from Trumbull Youth Lacrosse and due to the leadership from the upperclassmen.

The four freshmen that cracked the varsity roster this season are Shannon Seibold, Lynch, Emma Butler and Riley Chase.

"I took two last year and was hesitant with that, but they were absolutely fantastic," Hamilton said. "The Trumbull Youth Lacrosse program is doing such a good job that I ended up taking four this year and I have returning seniors. I graduated about a dozen seniors, so I was looking to fill spots. And I also have experience coming back, so there’s a great mix of old and young. They are meshing together really well, having a blast and playing lacrosse."

When it comes to competition, Hamilton and the rest of the Eagles know that nearly every game is going to be a challenge. And that’s a good thing for a team that’s working incredibly hard to get to that elite status.

“We play in one of the hardest conferences in the country,” Hamilton said. “When you’re playing college ball, you can say that you played Darien or Ridgefield or Wilton or New Canaan. If you want to be the best, you have to play the best. But overall, lacrosse in Connecticut is amazing. Brookfield, Stonington, Farmington, and Southington are some talented programs.”

Because of the demanding schedule that Trumbull plays day in and day out, Hamilton has equally demanding practices.

“They are physically and mentally demanding and I like to challenge the girls during every practice,” Hamilton said. “I want them walking away knowing something new. The caliber of play we go up against is crazy good. We might play Wilton, lose 20-3 and eat some humble pie, but I think we can also hand out some humble pie as well. The girls just need to know that when we play teams like Wilton to not get down, upset and it’s just a test. We know what we need to work on could improve on that.”

Overall, Hamilton really likes his team’s speed, which will be very important against some of the top competition Trumbull plays this season.

“They can run, which is going to be nice,” Hamilton said. “I know who we are playing against and I know we don’t have the stick skills to match that. But we are definitely going to match the athleticism.”

The Eagles open the season this year on Wednesday against the same team they ended the regular season with last year. Against Ridgefield last season, Trumbull gave them everything they could handle before falling 13-11.

“We lost, but it was the best game that we played all season, by far,” Hamilton said. “I just want to roll that into opening day. We are really looking forward to the game. We are really excited. We had a scrimmage against Foran and did really well and I want to get the enthusiasm up and confidence up.”

Win or lose, Hamilton said that getting the team’s confidence up is going to be one of the most important aspects of Trumbull’s success, both this year and in the future.

“I want their confidence level through the roof,” Hamilton said. “I want them to know that they could walk on the field with Darien, Wilton, New Canaan and not be intimidated. I want them to know they could run with them and have the stick skills to play with them late in the season and have fun with it. I am a realistic man, though. I think we can run with them and play with them and it would be a very good game, but we aren’t quite there yet as a program right now.”