It's a Lax Thing--Boys' and Girls' Lacrosse Teams Take to the Field
By Emma Duncan--Eagle Editor
Last month, the March Madness basketball tournament grasped many Eagles’ attention, but now that the competition is coming to a close, another sport is springing onto the field: boys’ and girls’ lacrosse.
“I’m very excited for this group, not only for the quality of their play, but more importantly the quality of students and young men they are,” JV Boys’ Head Coach Chris McClure began. “If we create a positive atmosphere, use drills that improve skill sets, make them think and problem solve, and encourage them to develop their game and learn from mistakes, they are capable of doing great things on and off the field.”
According to McClure and Boys’ Varsity Head Coach Chandler Hunt, the tryouts on Feb 21-23 went wonderfully.
“My main takeaway was the number of kids that showed up,” Hunt recalled. “At one point we were up to 40 kids and now the final team is in the upper 30s. I know numbers have been a problem in recent years for many sports teams around the county so it is especially gratifying that we have enough players for both JV and Varsity with a handful of kids on the bench that we can substitute in.”
McClure added that for the first time ever, all freshmen who tried out were able to play on JV and potentially Varsity as the season progresses. These ninth graders aren’t the only newcomers to the team, though, as this is also Hunt’s first year coaching lacrosse. Previously, he was the assistant football coach for three years.
“My goals for this season are for the kids to be proud of themselves and their team. The amount of work that student athletes/coaches have to put in is extremely overlooked and can be very stressful. I am eager to start building a program and a culture for FC Lacrosse,” Hunt anticipated.
Students are just as eager to lace up their cleats and start scoring.
“[We need to] just play how we know how to play. Last year, when we got down we just shut off, but I know that we are a lot better than that, so just working together and playing our lacrosse every game is the big goal,” commented junior Ian England, midfielder wearing 11 on the Varsity team. “A lot of the games we lost by probably 6 or more goals and it just left a really bad taste in my mouth. I’m going to do everything I can to not have our previous record and I think that the guys on the team agree with that.”
On the girls’ side of this sport, there are several experienced players making their mark, including Girls’ Varsity Head Coach Jacklyn Prillaman, who played on the inaugural girls’ lacrosse team when she was in high school. She’s truly come full circle as her past coach for both lacrosse and volleyball, Beverly Dudley, is now the assistant coach working beside her.
“Coach Dudley always pushed me to be better and always expect more from myself. Now being on the field together standing side by side makes me proud of myself, because I always looked up to her. I hope I encourage some of these players the way she did me. I take so much pride in this team and school and I work so hard to instill that into these players. I have always told people that when I was in college I thought being the one standing on the field as a player was the most rewarding part of it all, but now I know it is standing on the sideline watching the heart these players have in this team, school, and sport.”
Prillaman’s observations are shared across all grades, even with first time teammates.
“It being my first year on Varsity and being a freshman, you would expect it to be hard to make friends and fit in with the group but it is the complete opposite,” Hannah Bird clarified. “Everyone is so open to meeting new people and nobody cares what grade you’re in. Nobody judges you off your age or grade either. I really enjoy being on a team that is so welcoming and supportive. Everyone makes an effort to make sure no one is ‘out of the loop.’ I also have the seniors and juniors to look up to and learn from. I’m glad that I am on the girls' Varsity lacrosse team because I think it's helping me become a better player and person.”
As Bird said, heading up this athletic family are the seniors of course, who appear especially proud of this year’s team.
“We’re all actually really good friends on and off the field,” Ashlin Hicks, midfielder wearing #5, shared. “This is the first year I've played [where] everyone has been so close and actually gets along so well. Every practice is fun but also serious, and we are a very close knit team.”
However, this support reportedly doesn’t spread farther than the team itself, contrast to how popular boys’ lacrosse is with the school.
“Honestly, girls' lax is overlooked due to the fact that boys' lax tends to be more entertaining, considering that they have fewer rules and regulations on aggressive contact,” junior Lexa Jetmar emphasized. “I'd love to see girls' lax having greater contact; we all can handle the aggression and have talked about how it would add a fun element to the game. Being able to gear up with gloves/helmet/chest pads is much more exciting than just gearing up with girls' goggles. I think they're more lenient on aggressive contact for boys' lax because the boys can "handle it" better. Unfortunately, there's not much to do in order to equalize the amount of attention the lacrosse teams get unless the rules for girls' lax are changed.”
In the meantime, one way students and staff can show support for their Lady Eagles, and all sports teams for that matter, is by going to their games.
“When students come to games and fill up the stadium it gives student athletes confidence to go out and perform in their games,” Hunt acknowledged. “When stands are empty as an athlete you notice and… it does not make you want to play up to the level that you are capable of playing. It is very important that every sports team has fans in attendance. I highly suggest students come watch as many games as they can and of course bring with them friends.”
Interested Eagles can find the team schedules for this year below.