By: Shaun Robinson
For the past 15 seasons, Beth Serughetti has been the coach of the North girl’s lacrosse team. She is retiring this year, bringing an end to her incredibly successful coaching career.
This decision to step down from head coach, Serughetti described, was mainly due to the significant time commitment that the job entails. “To have a successful program really requires a lot of time, including time before the season starts,” she said. “So, when I come in in September, I’m already thinking about the schedule and about contacting teams.”
Serughetti’s love for coaching started with her love for sports in high school. A WW-P graduate herself, she played field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse all under coach Lori Hussong—who currently teaches freshman physical education here at North. Serughetti got experience with coaching by working at field hockey and lacrosse summer camps and soon fell in love with working with young athletes. “I knew this was something I wanted to do on top of teaching,” Serughetti said.
Hussong and Serughetti continued to stay in touch, and it was this connection that ultimately led Serughetti to getting the job here at North. “[Hussong] reached out to let me know there was a job opening, and a head lacrosse coach job available in the district,” Serughetti said. “At first I was reluctant to apply because I was already teaching at Moorestown and I loved it there, but Lori [Hussong] is very convincing. I ended up getting an interview with both Dr. Downs and Mr. Zappicchi.”
Fast forward to today, and the girls lacrosse teams that Serughetti has coached over the past 15 seasons have been incredibly successful. Her teams have won 186 games and lost just 86, with their best individual season record of 20-2 coming in 2014. Her girls were undefeated in the CVC in 2013 and 2014, and won the conference championship in 2003, 2006, 2013, and 2014.
Furthermore, Serughetti’s team was the runner-up in the North Group 3 state tournament in 2012, and the North Group 4 runner-up in 2014. They made it to the semifinals of the state tournament in 2006, and the finals of the Mercer County Tournament four years in a row: 2011-2014. Two of these years, 2012 and 2014, they won.
Serughetti attributes much of this success to her players. “I think I’ve had very focused girls,” she said, “and the main thing about having a successful program is making sure that everybody is all in. Everybody has to be on the same page when it comes to your goals in order to have that success.”
For players like senior Rachel Loo, Serughetti has a special way of maintaining this sense of dedication. “She’s always looking for ways to keep us motivated,” Liu described. “She’s even created a collage of our goals for the season and hung it on the wall of our locker room.”
In order to maintain a high-achieving team year after year, Serughetti described the importance of good coaching at all levels of the team. “When you talk about success, we have three parts to the program,” she said. “We have our freshmen, our JV, and our varsity, and we develop our freshmen and JV so that they’re prepared for varsity. Another part of having success, is making sure you have other coaches that are really solid as well.”
Among all of the successes her girls have had, Serughetti’s favorite moment came after the team’s loss during the state semifinal in 2006. “As the reporters are talking to me after the game,” she described, “the most magical thing is happening in the background. And that’s my girls—they’re still playing lacrosse amongst each other. It’s like we never wanted it to end.”
“Ending a season’s always difficult. Most teams are going to end their season on a loss. Very few end it on a win. The fact that we ended it on a loss, but it had that feeling of unity, and team, and love of lacrosse, is just a feeling I’ll never forget. It was beautiful,” she said.
As for the future, Serughetti still plans to coach. “Ideally I would love to be the freshman or middle school lacrosse coach,” she said. “We will see what the new head lacrosse coach has in mind for me.” This desire to keep coaching is no surprise; for Serughetti, like for her girls in 2006, coaching seems to be something she never wants to end.
When it comes to advice for future coaches of the girl’s lacrosse program, Serughetti emphasized organization, and the importance of finding a balance between taking it easy and standing firm. “Make sure you and the players are having fun,” she said, “but stand by your values. I think it’s really important as a coach not to waver and to stick with what you’ve put into place.”
Incredibly successful and incredibly impactful, there is no doubt that Serughetti’s career at North will leave a lasting legacy not just on the girl’s lacrosse program, but also on the girls themselves who had the privilege to play under such a passionate and dedicated coach.