WEST NEWBURY — Pentucket girls lacrosse coach Bob Pierce caught his first glimpse of Kayla O'Connor and Liz Jayne on a lacrosse field together when the girls were seventh-graders playing in Pentucket Youth Lacrosse League.
The fifth-year coach remembers feeling anxious as he considered how the pair would impact his program.
"I knew what was coming up the pipeline, but my only fear was that they'd go to private schools," Pierce said. "That would have been a blow to the program."
O'Connor and Jayne assuaged Pierce's fears the following fall by enrolling at Pentucket Regional High. Now sophomores, O'Connor and Jayne are on pace to threaten program records for goal-scoring. The pair have combined for 108 goals and 151 points this season, the fifth consecutive year in which the Sachems (8-5-1) have qualified for the state tournament.
With two games and a postseason remaining on the Pentucket schedule, O'Connor (55 goals, 24 assists) needs 11 goals to surpass her total from freshman season. Jayne (53 goals, 19 assists) has already scored 15 more goals than last season.
"They're so skilled," Pierce said. "Their stick skills are what separates them from the other players on the team and in the (Cape Ann League). They are as good or better than I expected them to be."
Both O'Connor and Jayne are ahead of the school-record pace set by 2007 graduate Sarah Galligan, who is now an NCAA Division 2 All-American at Stonehill College. Galligan scored 245 goals in her four-year career, but only 38 as a freshman and 46 as a sophomore. O'Connor (121 career goals) and Jayne (91 career goals) have proven to be a more productive scoring combination than Galligan, and her former All-CAL linemate Lindsay Beaton.
"This is similar," Pierce said. "Their chemistry was especially evident last year. They played together for so long, you could see one try to set up the other. Now, they're getting more comfortable with the others, and you can see them incorporate everyone."