Abbey Capobianco, who starred at Framingham High, Central Connecticut State, and UMass-Amherst, is in her first year as head coach of the Boston Storm women’s professional lacrosse team. Former Framingham High and UMass-Amherst standout Tanner Guarino is in her second year as a midfielder for the Storm. And on Wednesday, the Storm will play for the United Women’s Lacrosse League championship.
One will be experiencing it for the first time, the other for a second.
Abbey Capobianco, who starred at Framingham High, Central Connecticut State, and UMass-Amherst, is in her first year as head coach of the Boston Storm women’s professional lacrosse team. Former Framingham High and UMass-Amherst standout Tanner Guarino is in her second year as a midfielder for the Storm.
Last year — the inaugural season of the United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX) — Guarino and her teammates on the Storm got the chance to play for a UWLX championship, ultimately falling to the Long Island Sound.
But that was without Capobianco patrolling the sidelines.
Thanks to a win over the Philadelphia Force in the playoffs on Saturday, Capobianco will get her first chance, and Guarino her second at a UWLX title.
The Storm (3-4) will once again square off with the Sound — unbeaten at 7-0 — in the championship game, which will be held in Lake Placid, New York, on Wednesday at 1 p.m.
“We are super excited,” Capobianco, also the head coach of the Assumption College women’s team, said. “It’s really about enjoying the moment and enjoying that we’re playing in the championship game, but I think we just have to play our game and use all of our pieces. It’s very important that we make sure we stay true to who we are and don’t try and be who we’re not. We’re a gritty, hard-working team.
“We’re the only team in the (four-team) league that doesn’t have one big superstar, but we have a really great team. Team chemistry is huge for us, but it’s all about putting the chemistry and the talent together.”
Guarino, meanwhile, touched on the what it means for both herself and her teammates, many of whom weren’t on last year’s team.
“It’s really exciting,” Guarino, the current head coach of the Natick girls varsity team, said. “It’s a really different group this year, so it’s new and exciting to a lot of the players, which gets us more fired up. Everyone’s just really enjoying it. I’ve already been fortunate enough to experience this, but to see the other girls who haven’t just builds the excitement for the rest of the team.
“They just give you more positive energy to feed off of.”
The Storm’s playoff victory over the Force was obviously important in the sense that without it the team would not be playing for a championship this year.
But Saturday was also important for the Storm for another reason.
Prior to the playoffs, the Storm ended the six-game regular season on a four-game losing streak. Knowing that, Capobianco decided to put her team through a two-hour practice at Mount Ida College before the group headed over to Harvard University for the semifinal game.
According to Capobianco, the practice was spent correcting a lot of little mistakes which had haunted the Storm during the losing streak. Additionally, Capobianco also implemented two new things to use on the field — a zone defense and a zone ride, which is used in transition defense.
“There was no negativity at all (during the losing streak),” Guarino said. “It really just fired us up and motivated us more. You can’t overcome something like that if you have a negative attitude and I think that’s what really drove us.”
The practice seemed to really pay off, as the Storm went out and took it to the Force, ultimately winning by three goals after being up six with three minutes left to play.
“The biggest thing was we had a moment when we really started to click,” Capobianco said. “It was a big turning point for us as a team. All the players bought into what we implemented and it showed in the game. The chemistry really started to build, we learned from our mistakes, we played with more heart, and we played for each other, which I think is a big reason why we won.
“It was awesome.”
The Sound may be the defending champions and unbeaten this year, but the Storm played them well during two regular season meetings, falling by a combined four goals
And Guarino knows exactly what it’s going to take to finally knock off the Sound for the title.
“Long Island is very skilled and has great players, so for us, everybody has to do their job,” she said. “Possession is going to be key, but we also need to take care of the ball, finish our opportunities, and play tough defense.”
Tag(s): SLV In The Press