The popularity of lacrosse is growing as quickly as the frenetic pace of a match.
According to the US Lacrosse website, no sport at the high school level has expanded as fast as lacrosse has over the past 10 years. As the national governing body of mens, womens and youth lacrosse, US Lacrosse estimates there are 228,000 high school players.
Lake Forest Academy launched its girls program last year with 12 players, and it has grown to include 16. This season, LFA will play a mixture of junior varsity and varsity teams.
“It’s cool to say we’re part of the first two Lake Forest Academy lacrosse teams in school history,” senior Grace Coburn said. “It’s fun to be part of the lacrosse phenomenon. Our hope is that the program will grow and be able to compete with the bigger high schools.”
As LFA’s 17-0 loss to Lake Forest on Saturday indicates the school is not quite there yet. However, when LFA plays teams at a similar level of development, the results are often different. In a season-opening scrimmage April 3, LFA defeated St. Viator by one goal.
Last year, the girls spent most of the season just learning the basic rules and strategy of lacrosse. This year, the Caxys are much more advanced.
“We’ve come a long way,” said coach Katie Schlosser, who is also LFA’s assistant field hockey coach. “We have some really good athletes and we’re making a lot of progress. We’re playing much more as a team.”
Coburn, an accomplished basketball and tennis player, decided to give lacrosse a try despite having no previous experience beyond a fifth-grade lacrosse camp.
“I like to run around, and it was a sport that piqued my interest,” she said. “I’ve definitely come to love the sport.”
Junior Mary Kate Patton first played lacrosse in eighth grade and was disappointed that there was no team at LFA. As soon as she learned a team was starting, she joined.
“I love the energy on the field in lacrosse,” she said. “Coach [Schlosser] was my assistant field hockey coach, and she’s dedicated to making everyone better. I was really excited to join the team.”
Coburn and Patton, the team’s co-captains, have worked hard to recruit younger players to join the team.
“We have some promising new players this year who are great additions,” Patton said.