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Our priority is to provide the girls with excellent coaching in individual skills, positional play, and offensive and defensive strategy. We are committed to hiring coaches who have:

1.      sustained track records in coaching successful teams

2.      a commitment to understand each player as a person, student and athlete

3.      gained a reputation as respected role models

Collectively, our coaches have won Division I national championships, earned First-Team All-American designations, and played for the U.S. National Team. And nearly all of us are professional teachers, too.


Melissa Anderson

Melissa is the Co-Director of College Counseling and the varsity lacrosse coach at Greenwich Academy. Melissa graduated from Princeton University in 1998 with an A.B. in politics, and she earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2007. At Princeton, Melissa was a four-year letter-winner and captain of the women’s lacrosse team, earning All-Ivy honors, winning two Ivy-League championships and participating in two NCAA Final Fours. She currently serves on the Women’s Game Committee and the Coaches Subcommittee of US Lacrosse.

Laurie Downs

Laurie has been coaching lacrosse at Greenwich Academy since 1983. A field hockey and lacrosse player at Penn State, she won a NCAA lacrosse championship in 1980 and captained her lacrosse team her senior year. Laurie then went on to play on the US Lacrosse squad for seven years and has competed on New England teams at the National Tournament. Laurie has been active as a coach in the Greenwich community as well, coaching winter clinics and as Director of Lax Her Way (Lightning), a spring/summer travel program for middle school girls.   She holds a Level I and Level II coaching certification from US Lacrosse and has written coaching materials geared toward this age group.

Carly Downs

Carly graduated from Bucknell University in the spring of 2015, where she was a member of the Division I lacrosse program for four years. More recently, she assisted with the Greenwich Youth Lacrosse 7A team and then with the Storm 2021 summer team. Before attending Bucknell, Carly played both field hockey and lacrosse at Greenwich Academy, and developed a passion for coaching through her involvement in a number of youth sport programs.

Sally Duval

Sally coaches varsity field hockey and varsity lacrosse at Greenwich Academy.  She graduated from Harvard University in 2000, winning a NCAA championship in ice hockey 1999 and captaining the 1999-2000 team.  An avid runner, Sally just completed her third ultra marathon in June, 2016.

Cayla Liptak

Cayla teaches in the Lower School at Greenwich Academy as an Associate Teacher and coaches both field hockey and lacrosse. She played Division III lacrosse at Bowdoin College and graduated with a B.A. in Art History and Italian in 2014. During her freshman year at Bowdoin, the team reached the NCAA Final Four and Championship game. Cayla attended Wesleyan University on a semester exchange program during her sophomore year and also played NESCAC lacrosse while studying there.  Before coaching with the Comets, Cayla spent three seasons with the CT Cardinals Club team and volunteered with local youth lacrosse organizations in Maine. Most recently, Cayla coached the Greenwich Youth Lacrosse 5A team and assisted with the Storm 2020 and 2022 teams.

Katie Johnson

Katie Johnson has been the assistant varsity lacrosse coach at Greenwich Academy since 2012.  Katie graduated from Greenwich Academy in 1988, where she was a US Lacrosse High-School All-American.  She then graduated from Princeton University in 1992, where she captained both the field hockey and lacrosse teams.  Katie earned All-American honors for three years and in 1992 was named the Princeton University Female Student-Athlete of the Year and the New Jersey Female Athlete of the Year by the Star-Ledger.  From 1991 to 1994, Katie played for the US National Team.

Taryn Petrelli

Taryn Petrelli teaches Middle School English at Brunswick School. She graduated with a B.A. from Middlebury College in 2009. She captained both the field hockey and lacrosse teams at Middlebury, where her team won the NESCAC championship twice and participated twice in the NCAA Final Four. She earned collegiate first-team All-American honors in lacrosse and, for her “performance, aggressiveness, leadership, tremendous desire and team spirit” in two intercollegiate sports, was given the A. Bayard Russ ’66 Memorial Athletic Award as a senior. A 2005 graduate of Greenwich Academy, Petrelli earned first-team All-American honors in lacrosse and one of the school’s most prestigious athletic distinctions, the Susan Beard Smart Award.

Hannah Withiam

Hannah graduated from Hamilton College in 2016 with a degree in Comparative Literature and Classics and currently works at the New York Post as an Associate Reporter and Producer in Sports.  While at Hamilton, Withiam was a four-year starter in soccer and a three-year starter in lacrosse, captaining both teams her senior year.  On the lacrosse field she earned all-region honors twice, with a second-team selection to the 2015 Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Berkshire Region all-star team and a spot on the first team this spring. She was voted to the NESCAC all-conference women's lacrosse team after her senior year. Over her 64-game career, Withiam picked up 85 ground balls, won 46 draw controls and caused 40 turnovers as one of the team's defensive stalwarts. She was named to the NESCAC's fall and winter All-Academic Teams three times apiece, and in 2016 Hannah received the Milton H. Jannone Award for "outstanding athleticism, leadership and academic accomplishment."

(Credit to the Hamilton College website.)