Members of the girls’ lacrosse team have a little swagger these days.

Just two years after winning only one game, the Lady Lions are 14-1 this season and are currently ranked 12th in the state according to the latest power rankings.

The news gets better. Last week, the team won the East Suburban Catholic Conference title, after finishing fourth last year, defeating one of its biggest rivals, Carmel Catholic High School in a stunning upset.

On Tuesday, conference officials recognized their efforts. Senior co-captain Emily Jarosz was named East Suburban Catholic Conference player of the year, and she and six of her teammates were named to the all-conference team, including Georgia Christy ’18, Anna Gorman ’18, Colleen Martin ’17, Olivia Moorman ’20, Preetha Raj ’17 and Rebecca Wolf ’18.

In addition, varsity coach Suzanne Rich was named ESCC coach of the year.

“It’s been a total team effort,” Coach Rich says. “We have a solid defense, with a strong senior goalie, and we’ve got an attacking offense, with many players who can score goals.

“It’s just been a total change in culture,” she adds. “They believe in what I’m asking them to do. They’ve learned how to win—and they want to win.”

This is the second year Coach Rich has directed the team. She made an immediate impact last year when the team posted 11 wins and this year they are strong contenders heading into next weekend’s playoffs.

Coach Rich brings a Division I playing experience to the role. She was a four-year starting midfielder at the University of Richmond in Virginia, where the Spiders earned a berth to the national lacrosse tournament her freshmen year.

When she’s not coaching the Lady Lions, Coach Rich also directs the Illinois girls’ travel program for True Lacrosse, a premier club program based in Lombard.

In reflecting on the team’s dramatic turnaround, Coach Rich credits her assistant coach, Peter Bogle, who runs the offense; and junior varsity Coach Taryn Abbassian, who specializes in draw controls. Both assistants bring college experience to their roles, while her captains, Emily Jarosz ’17, Preetha Raj ’17 and Peyton Finnegan ’18, provide solid leadership.

“We have great athletes on our team, who I knew I could shape into great lacrosse players,” Coach Rich says. “They’re committed to working hard and playing in the off-season, and it shows.”