Sventy sparking Rancocas revival

Rancocas Valley's Peyton Sventy (right) gets set to score past Moorestown defender Bria McKenzie. Sventy has scored 77 goals this season. ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Rancocas Valley's Peyton Sventy (right) gets set to score past Moorestown defender Bria McKenzie. Sventy has scored 77 goals this season. ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Posted: May 11, 2014

The first term that came to mind when summing up Peyton Sventy isn't exactly scientific, but it's telling of what makes for a consistent lacrosse program.

"Peyton is just one of those lax-for-lifers," Rancocas Valley girls' coach Sara Shelley said. "She loves playing, she's eager to play in college, and she works hard every day."

In other words, Sventy is something of a model for the type of player Shelley has seen more of over the last few seasons, as her program has reached new levels of success and consistency.

Last year, RV went 19-3, capturing second place in the Burlington County League - Moorestown is perennially in first place.

But that Red Devils team featured 10 seniors. Six started on offense, and twins Alex and Mackenzie Hlesciak were perhaps the strongest duo the RV program had seen.

The team's stellar regular season on the heels of such turnover is proof of the staying power RV has built, based strongly on the performance of a growing number of "lax-for-lifers" such as Sventy.

"It took a lot of heart. We knew we were losing a lot of girls," said Sventy, a sophomore attack. "But we all had hope that we'd bounce back. We thought we had enough players to step up, and that's what everybody has done. So we're very happy."

Sventy has established herself as a superstar in her sophomore year. After a solid freshman campaign, she already has netted 77 goals this season, including the 100th of her career, for the 14-3 Red Devils, ranked No. 7 in South Jersey by The Inquirer.

And she has had to earn each of her goals. Last year, Sventy blended in with an experienced offense. This year, she has been double-teamed, face-guarded, and marked by the opposing team's best defender in almost every game.

"It's a lot different, but it makes you feel more important," Sventy said with a laugh. "Last year, the seniors, especially Alex, were so great in teaching me how to handle that. I just tried to learn as much as I could to prepare myself for this season."

Since sixth grade, Sventy has played for South Jersey Select, the area's premier club program. She's quick, she has great stick skills and awareness, and her love and dedication are evident in every minute of every game.

These are growing traits, as well among her teammates, many of whom are increasingly choosing to play club lacrosse and pursue the sport in college. Those include senior goalie Deja Andrews, who announced earlier this week that she will play at Division I Bryant College.

"Definitely, there's no question," Sventy said when asked if she senses lacrosse becoming more popular at her school, which has been known more for its success in girls' basketball and softball in recent years.

"People are starting to take notice of the success we've been having, and you see a lot more younger girls becoming interested in the sport.

"I try to tell as many people as I can what a great sport lacrosse is," she added. "And people are starting to catch on."

That's an attitude Shelley is instilling in her team.

"It comes down to setting high expectations," Shelley said. "And the players want to be good, they want to be pushed, and each year, they want more than the year before.

"And those are the keys to establishing a program: You have to build excitement, you have to set high expectations, and you have to believe."


rallysports@phillynews.com

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