By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/16/10
It’s been a fall season of change for Syracuse women’s lacrosse players Heather Wentz (Unionville graduate), Kasey Mock (Pottstown) and Amy Cross (Upper Dublin).
The three Philly women made an enjoyable homecoming today for the Orange in a 14-14 Fall Ball tie with Delaware at Radnor High.
It was the second straight year Syracuse – coached by former Wings standout and men’s lacrosse legend Gary Gait – has come to Radnor on this weekend to play a Fall Ball game. Last year Syracuse met North Carolina and then went on to join the Tar Heels in the NCAA Division I Final Four tournament before bowing to eventual champion Maryland, 14-5, in the semifinals.
Last year Wentz, who missed a lot of time due to an illness, played sparingly as a defender. She has been moved to midfield and is hoping to make an impact. Both Mock and Cross – who earned All-American and All-Phillylacrosse.com honors last year – are freshmen fighting for time.
Also, a number of Philly grads enjoyed their homecoming for Delaware. See accompanying story.
Wentz said the Orange will enter the 2011 season with high goals. The team closes its Fall Ball slate Sunday at Princeton in an annual tourney that features powerhouses Northwestern, North Carolina and Penn, up-and-coming Florida and the host Tigers.
“(Winning a national championship) is always everyone’s goal, but we’re definitely serious about that,” Wentz said. “For Fall Ball, we don’t want to look to the future so much right now.
“We’re working on skills, while getting the freshmen and sophomores and everyone on the same page and working on our plays. After tomorrow, our last Fall Ball appearance, we’ll really focus on our goals. We’ll look to the regular season, then the BIG EAST championships and then to a National title.”
Wentz, who was happy to play against former Unionville teammate Kalyn McDonough, has enjoyed the move to midfield and the chance to score goals.
“It’s really been fun,” said Wentz. “Your stick skills are the main thing. You have to be on with the stick skills and be confident in yourself and your teammates. And you have to be confidence to run the ball up the field and run the plays.”
How is it playing for a celebrity like Gait?
“It is really fun,” she said of the former Syracuse great who has coached women at Maryland (assistant from 1995-2001) and men in both pro leagues as well as in the international ranks. “Just last night in the lobby hotel people saw all our orange and blue and asked, ‘Is Gary Gait here?’”
Mock, who tallied 318 career goals at Pottstown and had 119 last year, also has made a change, moving to defense. She said she always focused on defense and started as a defender as a freshman in high school, so the change has not been too difficult.
“I love it, everyone has been so open and helpful and everyone is willing to help,” said Mock. “You can always go to coaches and teammates. It’s been a really easy transition considering the move to college.”
Cross, who starred in the Champion High School Showcase in the summer after leading Upper Dublin to a third straight league title, also has made the adjustments to the college game.
“You have to be a lot more aggressive and show hustle,” she said. “They (the referees) call things differently and you have to work hard.
“The speed of the game is so much faster from high school to college, but you can rely on everyone .You can trust everyone because they are all so good. I love it.”
Cross also is happy that her younger sister, junior Kelly, recently decided to commit to Syracuse
“I cannot wait to play with her,” she said. “I am so excited for that.”