Lake Lehmans Katie Roberts breaks away from Wyoming Seminary defenders Kaitlyn Metz (left) and Julia Gabriel during a game this season. - Fred Adams file photo | For Times Leader
Times Leader girls lacrosse Player of the Year, Wyoming Seminary’s Julia Gabriel (left), chases down Lake Lehman’s Jessica Evans as teammate Paige Parsons joins the play (right) during a game this season. - Fred Adams file photo | For Times Leader
Other players scored more goals during the 2018 season. Some made attention-grabbing saves or defensive stops.
But when it came time for Wyoming Seminary players to vote on the Most Valuable Player of their Wyoming Valley Conference and District 2 Class 2A championship team, the answer came back loud and clear — defensive midfielder Julia Gabriel.
When WVC coaches faced the same question for the entire conference while selecting their all-star teams, they came up with the same answer, pointing to Gabriel, who occasionally moved back to play defense, but was usually covering much of the field.
Gabriel has one more honor in conjunction with the Times Leader Girls Lacrosse All-Star Team. Her third straight season as a first-team, all-star includes selection as the Player of the Year.
“There was a sense of responsibility to keep your composure no matter the situation,” Gabriel said of being a veteran midfielder, supporting both the offense and defense.
Gabriel contributed 26 goals and 11 assists, but her play all over the field — and her leadership beyond it — were all part of the equation that made District 2’s top player.
Each of the last three school years, Gabriel has moved from one sports season to another as a key member of the soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams.
Lacrosse is the sport that Gabriel will continue into college. She plans to play at Lebanon Valley College where she is considering majoring in psychology.
Before picking the athletic pursuit that she would carry into the future, Gabriel had a chance to try many sports.
Fran Gabriel, Julia’s mother, had been the point guard on Carbondale’s 1976-77 unbeaten team that was the first from District 2 to win a state girls basketball title.
Julia started her first sport, soccer, very young. She added softball, which she played briefly, and basketball.
“I started lacrosse in sixth grade,” Gabriel said. “The more I played, the more I realized it was the sport I loved.
“Coming into high school, I knew that this was my main sport.”
Gabriel’s summer sports time was spread across different sports, but the one she made sure to prepare for most was lacrosse. She worked on her stick skills by throwing the ball off a wall or playing catch with older sister Emily, another multi-sport athlete at Wyoming Seminary who is now a senior at Bucknell where she is on the rowing team.
The lacrosse time could not stop Julia Gabriel from making an impact elsewhere.
She started all four seasons of soccer. In the winter, she moved into the basketball starting lineup when an injury opened a spot during her sophomore season and she went on to receive all-star recognition in her last two seasons.
Gabriel was at her best, however, in lacrosse. She broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore midfielder, mixed playing defense with being a defensive midfielder as a junior and spent most of her time as a senior leader in the defensive midfield position.
Times Leader Coach of the Year Catie Kersey praised the way Gabriel easily moved from one end of the field to the other and dominated on the draw controls that gave the Blue Knights valuable extra possessions.
“You’re all over the field,” Gabriel said. “There’s a sense of responsibility. You have to know your role.
“The midfielders sort of set the pace of the game because you’re going up and back.”
The leadership part of her role came naturally to Gabriel, a 17-year-old from Forty Fort.
“You want to calm your defense down sometimes and you want to hype them up some,” she said. “The same thing with the offense. There are players all over the field who are looking to the midfielders.”
Not all adjustments happen in the course of a game.
Wyoming Seminary recovered from having its 36-game WVC winning streak halted by Lake-Lehman, coming back to win rematches that decided both the conference and district titles. With Gabriel supporting the defensive unit, Wyoming Seminary better defended Lake-Lehman’s ability to produce offense on plays where it set up behind the cage.
“Obviously, it was heartbreaking to lose,” Gabriel said. “It would have been nice having an undefeated season in the conference.
“We took it in stride. We didn’t get our heads down too much. We had lost games in the past and still come out with district championships. … We adjusted to how Lake-Lehman played and made sure we were ready the next time.”
Lake Lehmans Katie Roberts breaks away from Wyoming Seminary defenders Kaitlyn Metz (left) and Julia Gabriel during a game this season.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Julia-Gabriel-MVP-1.jpgLake Lehmans Katie Roberts breaks away from Wyoming Seminary defenders Kaitlyn Metz (left) and Julia Gabriel during a game this season. Fred Adams file photo | For Times Leader
Times Leader girls lacrosse Player of the Year, Wyoming Seminary’s Julia Gabriel (left), chases down Lake Lehman’s Jessica Evans as teammate Paige Parsons joins the play (right) during a game this season.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Julia-Gabriel-MVP-2.jpgTimes Leader girls lacrosse Player of the Year, Wyoming Seminary’s Julia Gabriel (left), chases down Lake Lehman’s Jessica Evans as teammate Paige Parsons joins the play (right) during a game this season. Fred Adams file photo | For Times Leader
Versatile leader Julia Gabriel was a strength in the middle for Wyoming Seminary
By Tom Robinson
For Times Leader
Coach of the Year
Catie Kersey, Wyoming Seminary
Kersey kept alive Wyoming Seminary’s record of winning titles every season in which the Wyoming Valley Conference and District 2 have conducted girls lacrosse. The sixth straight WVC title and eighth straight district championship required in-season adjustments after Wyoming Seminary lost a battle of unbeatens to Lake-Lehman. The Blue Knights went back to work, including drilling on specifics needed for the two championship rematches with Lake-Lehman, both of which became Wyoming Seminary wins. Kersey has coached 16 seasons at Wyoming Seminary, leading all those championships. Also a class dean and history teacher at Wyoming Seminary, Kersey previously coached girls soccer, basketball and lacrosse for two years at Culver Academies in Indiana and one year at Blair Academy in New Jersey.
Koslop, a repeat selection to the Times Leader all-star team as an attacker, became the first Crestwood player to score 200 career goals earlier this season. The four-year starter served as team captain.
Galasso, an attacker, moves up from being a second-team selection a year ago. She had 55 goals, 11 assists and 21 groundballs.
Roberts, an attacker, was the leading scorer on a team that tied for first in the Wyoming Valley Conference in the regular season. A second-team, all-star as a midfielder last season, she ranked among the state’s top scorers with 66 goals and 26 assists. She also controlled 47 groundballs.
Wyoming Seminary, Senior
Sims, an attacker, started the last two seasons and used her 54 goals as a senior to surpass the 100-goal mark for her career. She plans to play at King’s College.
Tomalinas repeats as a first-team, all-star selection with her play at midfield while helping Crestwood finish fourth in the 12-team league.
Evans excelled at draw control while scoring 62 goals, assisting 26 others and controlling 71 groundballs from her midfield position for the District 2 Class 2A finalists.
Wyoming Seminary, sophomore
After missing her freshman season because of a concussion, Joanlanne made a big impact on the WVC and District 2 champions, dominating on draw controls and using her speed to cause problems for opponents.
Brumagin’s play on defense earned her first-team honors from the Times Leader for the third straight season.
Lasinski, a defender, was a second-team, all-star selection last season as a freshman. She had 27 groundballs and 21 takeaways along with five interceptions, a goal and an assist.
Wyoming Seminary, Senior
Metz, a starting defending on championship teams the last two seasons, moves up after being a second-team, all-star selection as a junior. She plans to play at Lebanon Valley College.
Wyoming Seminary, Junior
Raineri, the goalie on the conference and district champions, was a second-team, all-star as a sophomore.