JPII girls lacrosse returns for a curtain call

Chris Bartolomei wanted to do something for St. John Paul II’s girls lacrosse team. His daughter, Ella, had made the varsity last spring as a seventh-grader, and he’d watched the upperclassmen embrace and welcome her to the team as a starter.

“These senior girls were just like big sisters to her,” Bartolomei said. “As a father, I was so nervous about having my daughter play up last year, but they were just phenomenal.”

The coronavirus pandemic began canceling sports leagues and seasons in mid-March. The Lions never got to build on last year’s season in which they went 13-6 and reached the second round of the South Sectional tournament, and all those seniors graduated without getting their final season.

“I felt so terrible that they didn’t have a season that I had to do something,” Bartolomei said.

Ella Bartolomei also plays for Laxachusetts, one of the top club programs in the state. That connection allowed her father to provide the Lions one last chance to compete.

The team began practicing Tuesday in preparation for a tournament July 15-16 in Devens that will be organized by Laxachusetts. The Lions practiced at the Sandwich Pop Warner Fields, and Bartolomei said they’ll continue to practice weekly ahead of the tournament.

Forty programs will be participating. Proceeds and registration fees will go to the COVID-19 Response Fund.

“It couldn’t have gone to a better cause, so we were really excited,” said Bartolomei, who would have been an assistant coach with JPII this spring. “All the parents were just excited to see their kids playing again.”

By Matt Goisman –Source