Irvington Senior Credits Dance Skills with Achieving Success in Girls Lacrosse
by Tom Pedulla –
Elizabeth Segreti was inspired as a child by “Swan Lake,” a ballet about a princess transformed into a swan by an evil sorcerer. She began learning ballet when she was three years old and continued to perform through middle school.
Although her appreciation for dance remained, she yearned to be part of something bigger than herself as she grew older.
“I did want to be part of a team and have the support of everyone around you,” she said, “because ballet and dance is very individual, for the most part.”
Her brother, Adam, played lacrosse for Irvington High School. He began working with her to develop her skills, particularly the need for his right-handed sister to become much more comfortable holding the stick in her left hand so that she could represent a scoring threat from that side.
“If a defense knows you are mostly a right-handed player, they will force you to use your left hand,” Segreti said. “If you have no skill on that side, you will never be able to work with it and score.”
Segreti learned to score, all right. She closed her four-year varsity career at Irvington with 115 goals and 45 assists, including 45 goals and 14 assists as a senior, while earning the admiration of her coach, Patrick DiBenedetto, and teammates.
“She put the time and work in that allowed her to achieve this milestone,” said DiBenedetto while noting her attendance at clinics since middle school.
Segreti’s speed was a tremendous asset to her as a midfielder who also met her defensive responsibilities. She credits years on the dance floor with helping to improve her balance when she was under heavy defensive pressure. She also had a knack for scooping up loose balls off the draw.
“She’s always been a go-to player as far as advancing the ball and creating scoring opportunities for us,” DiBenedetto said. “She’s determined. You can see it in her eyes when she plays.”
Segreti served as a team captain with fellow seniors Olivia Valdes and Brianna Havraniak. Junior Maria Mascone was the final captain.
DiBenedetto credited Segreti with helping to make sure the underclassmen were committed to winter league games, an important developmental tool.
“I do try to make them feel included because I wanted that when I was a freshman,” Segreti said.
It was a season of milestones for the Bulldogs, who finished with a 12-5 record, highlighted by an opening-round victory against Rye Neck in the playoffs. Valdes, also a midfielder, netted her 160th goal. More impressive than that, though, was her willingness to do everything possible to involve underclassmen in the offense.
“Her role was more about the team, solidifying our attack as a whole and keeping everyone working together,” DiBenedetto said. “She’s been very conscious of the future of the program.”
Although Cameron Soravilla got involved with lacrosse relatively late, joining the junior varsity as a sophomore, she quickly made up for lost time. She produced her 200th career save as part of her senior season.
“She has that mentality of being assertive,” the coach said. “Her will, her personality, allowed her to accelerate the learning process.”
Segreti lamented how quickly her final season went by. She is set to enroll at McGill University in Montreal. Her mother and other family members graduated from that school. Segreti hopes to play lacrosse at the club level there.
When Segreti looks back, she said she would not change a thing. She is equally grateful for the time she devoted to ballet, which taught discipline and attention to detail, and to lacrosse, which brought camaraderie she will always cherish.