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Hopkinton Lax Goalie Chirco Has Pivotal Season Ahead

Thursday, February 07, 2013

 

Jackie Chirco had 171 saves last season. (Credit: John Copley)

Like most girls, Jackie Chirco began her lacrosse career as a field player. By fifth grade, she had fully committed to being a goalkeeper. The switch has paid great dividends.

Now a senior at Hopkinton High School, Chirco has one more season to fine-tune her skills before moving on to Assumption College this fall. She signed her national letter of intent in November.

“The position of goalie is a tough one to commit to and put all your energies into, but she has,” Hopkinton coach Jodi Dolan said.

Chirco first played under Dolan as a third-grader. That relationship has continued at the high school level, with Chirco serving as Dolan’s starting goalie since her sophomore year.

“Jackie has been a very strong goalie for us,” said Dolan. “Goalies can get kind of heady, but she never gets mad at herself. I’ve never seen her cry in four years, even when she’s had a bad game. She always blames herself, but she shakes it off and takes the next shot. Our mentality for goalies is that it’s 0-0, no matter if you’re winning by 10 goals or losing by 10 goals.

“The thing about Jackie that I’ve really pushed is she’s a very active goalie. It’s what she does after the save that makes a difference between being a good goalie and a great goalie. She makes great clears. If she has to come out of the net, she will. She can dodge attackers that are trying to get the ball away from her. She makes really good decisions with the ball. She’s a great leader. She talks to her defense. She’s just an active goalie, and I really like that in goalies, without being crazy. She’s not going to run all the way down the field, but she’s not afraid to come out of the crease, and a lot of goalies are.”

Dolan has specific goals for Chirco this spring. The netminder totaled 171 saves last season, stopping 51 percent of the shots she faced. Chirco also led the Hillers in interceptions.

Chirco will attend Assumption College this fall.

“I want Jackie to improve her save percentage,” Dolan said. “It was about average last year. I want her to really focus on those actual numbers. She does a really good job with the ball after the save, but you need to save the ball first and that [percentage] needs to be a little higher.”

“She sometimes has a little bit of a slow start in games,” Dolan added. “The first couple shots will go by her, and after that, once she makes a couple saves, she only gets better. But I really want her to work on those initial saves – to get the team pumped up and to kind of deflate the other team, so they don’t get any momentum.”

Chirco will have the new responsibility of being a team captain in 2013. It’s a title Dolan has bestowed on few goalies during her 12-year tenure, because netminders typically require additional pregame preparation and don’t have time for extra duties. But the coach is confident that Chirco is ready for the challenge.

 

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