For the first time since before most of its players were even born, the Kingston High School varsity girls lacrosse team will open its season with a coach other than Deb Eaton at the helm. Eaton retired from coaching after the 2017 season, and fellow M. Clifford Miller Middle School teacher Emily Williams is set to take the reins of the perennial powerhouse program.
Williams, a 2006 graduate of Wading River High School on Long Island, played lacrosse for all four years of college at the University of Delaware, where she earned her degree in health and physical education in 2011. After four years teaching and coaching lacrosse at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, Pa., Williams came to the Kingston City School District where she teaches health at Miller while also studying humanistic and multicultural education in graduate school at SUNY New Paltz. Her husband is a lacrosse coach and teacher at Millbook School.
Williams comes to a program that’s won 11 straight Section IV, Class A titles and which continues to exemplify the very definition of team lacrosse. Expectations are likely high for her inaugural campaign. She said her team is both experienced and committed.
“I am impressed by the dedication and commitment that the girls have shown in the offseason,” Williams said. “Many of them played together in an indoor lacrosse league and we competed in several tournaments. We have a number of girls who played other sports in the fall and winter, which helps them prepare for lacrosse in the spring.”
Williams hasn’t named captains yet, but she did identify a few of the players she expects will be leading by example in 2018.
“We have a talented senior class that includes Analiese Amato [midfielder], Grace Gavis [attacker], Meghan Gavis [attacker], Alex Lettre [defender] and Kate Lord [attack, wing],” Williams said. “They’ve done a great job of providing leadership for the younger girls. I also appreciate that they’ve welcomed me onto the team.”
The Tigers opened their season on Wednesday, March 27 after the Kingston Times went to press with a visit to non-league opponent Bethlehem. After a scrimmage at home against Red Hook next week, Kingston hits the road again when they play at Minisink Valley on Friday, April 6. Their official home opener is scheduled for Tuesday, April 10 when they host Washingtonville at Dietz Stadium.
“Playing smart is a major emphasis for this season,” said Williams. “We want to limit our turnovers and make good decisions on the field. Playing together as a team rather than a group of individuals and I want girls to have fun and enjoy being on the team.”
Williams said that in addition to the players, coaches and everyone else involved with the program have helped her get acclimated. That group includes the former coach who built the program from the ground up.
“All of the coaches and players are putting our best effort in and whatever the results are we are satisfied with the effort and that eliminates a lot of the pressure,” Williams said. “Deb [Eaton] and I are both teachers at Miller Middle School so we talk often. She has always been helpful and welcoming.”