Blasi Selected To Coach Girls Lacrosse At Ashland High

KEN HAMWEY Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
April, 2020
Article Body: 

Katie Blasi is Ashland High’s new girls varsity lacrosse coach and she should be a terrific addition to the Clockers’ staff.
The 34-year-old native of Syracuse will be coaching her first varsity team but her background in lacrosse is extensive — she’s been a player, a coach and a referee. During her interscholastic days, Blasi played three varsity seasons on attack at Liverpool High (outside Syracuse) and four more as a midfielder at Bentley University where she was the Falcons’ captain as a senior.
She also coached at the youth level in Lexington and Arlington and was a referee in the greater Boston area, officiating in youth leagues and at junior-varsity games.
“I’ve always enjoyed coaching and when I heard about the vacancy at Ashland, it seemed like the perfect time and the perfect opportunity,’’ said Blasi, who’s lived in Ashland for the last four years with her husband (Adam) and three children. “I applied, had an interview and was hired.’’
Blasi’s style and approach should provide excitement for fans of Ashland lacrosse. “A lot depends on personnel but I like a fast pace on offense and an up-tempo style on defense,’’ she said. “I like off-ball movement on offense and plenty of passing. My defensive philosophy is all about hustle, being aggressive and going for ground balls.’’
Blasi met her captains (Emily Henault, Emilee Lydon and Kaitlin Loughlin) after being hired and later met the rest of her team before pre-season practice.
“The captains are excellent leaders and they’re eager to get started,’’ Blasi said. “They organized workouts with other players, they’re passionate about the sport and they seem very motivated.’’
When the season starts, the girls will be dealing with a coach who stresses the basics and values each player’s assets. “I want them to know that I’ll recognize their strengths and their value to the team,’’ Blasi said. “And, I want to make lacrosse a positive experience for them. I’ll stress fundamentals, hard work and technique.’’
Ashland hasn’t been to the tourney since 2015, so Blasi’s goals in her rookie year are “to build a strong foundation through teamwork and hard work, and to focus on one game at a time.’’
Her competitive philosophy, however, addresses winning. “If our players are reaching their potential and enjoying their sport, then winning will be the by-product,’’ she emphasized. “Building solid team chemistry is a key to success.’’
Stephen Marks, Ashland’s Athletic Director, didn’t hesitate when it was time to decide on a replacement for Jessica Spencer.
“Coach Blasi’s background playing lacrosse in college, coaching, and refereeing was definitely a plus,’’ he said. “It’s our hope that that combination proves to be an asset in the development of our entire lacrosse program. What stood out the most was her clear, long-term vision for the program. She seems to truly understand the balance of working hard and being competitive with keeping it fun and rewarding. We’re confident our program is in capable hands.’’
Marks also admires the relationship building she’s shown. “She met with the captains and the rest of the team and she set up meetings with both the Ashland youth program and boys coach Bill Graham. Additionally, she hired our varsity field hockey coach, Molly Bennett, to be her assistant, which will only enhance the team’s togetherness. This team will be a unified group moving forward.”
Blasi, who was hired in January, knows her players may need time to adjust to a new coach. “My prime goal is to earn the team’s respect and that will help the girls buy into the program,’’ she said.
Acutely aware that the Clockers compete in the Tri Valley League’s Large Division, Blasi views Hopkinton and Westwood as the teams to beat. “Those squads are well-coached, talented and have strong tradition,’’ she said. “The division is very challenging but we’ll be competitive.’’
Blasi, who has her bachelors and masters (Babson College) in corporate finance and accounting, worked for Liberty Mutual in Boston for three years in finance and accounting and later worked for Arbor Networks (software firm). When her children came along, she became a stay-at-home mom.
Now, she’s eager to get started on a new chapter of her lacrosse journey. Based on the attributes she prefers in her players, her venture into varsity coaching should be successful.
“What I most want in players is a willingness to hustle,’’ she said. “I want our girls to get to ground balls quickly and work hard to get possession. I also want players who are skilled and have a high lacrosse IQ. Athleticism and being well-conditioned are keys and players with positive attitudes are a plus.’’
Blasi hopes her players will grasp the importance of learning valuable life lessons through athletics. “Sports help student-athletes to understand the value of perseverance,’’ she noted. “It’s important to work hard even if we’re losing. Other key lessons are being accountable and improving leadership skills. Sports also help players to be confident.’’
There’ll be about 40 girls in Ashland’s jayvee and varsity programs. They’ll all realize early on that their new varsity coach knows the game from different levels and she’s intent on teaching the sport’s fundamentals.
Blasi also played field hockey in high school and her coach (Kim Dominick) is a mentor she hasn’t forgotten.
“She built a positive culture and got the most out of all her players because they all felt valued,’’ Blasi said.
That blueprint will be emulated in Ashland and it’s very likely that the Clockers will benefit greatly from that approach.
Katie Blasi is ready for the season to begin.