Girls lacrosse program continues to grow

Stick+in+the+air%2C+junior+Charlotte+Zera+follows+the+ball+in+a+varsity+game+against+Lafayette+April+2.+Zera+first+started+playing+lacrosse+when+a+tennis+teammate+encouraged+her+to+try+out+for+the+team.+%E2%80%9CThe+kind+of+culture+I+hope+to+inspire+in+the+lacrosse+program+is+one+where+everyone+can+freely+make+friends+and+help+each+other+grow+not+only+in+lacrosse%2C+but+in+their+character%2C+sportsmanship+and+athleticism%2C%E2%80%9D+Zera+said.%0A
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Girls lacrosse program continues to grow

Stick in the air, junior Charlotte Zera follows the ball in a varsity game against Lafayette April 2. Zera first started playing lacrosse when a tennis teammate encouraged her to try out for the team. “The kind of culture I hope to inspire in the lacrosse program is one where everyone can freely make friends and help each other grow not only in lacrosse, but in their character, sportsmanship and athleticism,” Zera said.

Stick in the air, junior Charlotte Zera follows the ball in a varsity game against Lafayette April 2. Zera first started playing lacrosse when a tennis teammate encouraged her to try out for the team. “The kind of culture I hope to inspire in the lacrosse program is one where everyone can freely make friends and help each other grow not only in lacrosse, but in their character, sportsmanship and athleticism,” Zera said.

Isabel Collop

Stick in the air, junior Charlotte Zera follows the ball in a varsity game against Lafayette April 2. Zera first started playing lacrosse when a tennis teammate encouraged her to try out for the team. “The kind of culture I hope to inspire in the lacrosse program is one where everyone can freely make friends and help each other grow not only in lacrosse, but in their character, sportsmanship and athleticism,” Zera said.

Isabel Collop

Isabel Collop

Stick in the air, junior Charlotte Zera follows the ball in a varsity game against Lafayette April 2. Zera first started playing lacrosse when a tennis teammate encouraged her to try out for the team. “The kind of culture I hope to inspire in the lacrosse program is one where everyone can freely make friends and help each other grow not only in lacrosse, but in their character, sportsmanship and athleticism,” Zera said.

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Following the growing trend of the team’s roster increasing the past three years, the girls’ lacrosse program reached a record 60 athletes for the 2019 season. Having a larger team has consequently allowed the team to grow in other areas, improving from an 11-11-1 varsity record for 2016 to a 17-6 varsity record in 2018.

“All levels have continued to grow on and off the field. There has been more and more successes during the season with wins and losses. We have been able to take [other schools] that used to be a lot better [than us] and be competitive with them,” coach Emily Lovercheck said.

With the program now large enough to form varsity, JV and C-teams, the girls organize a program-wide lock-in at school so players can get to know each other and grow closer despite the ever-expanding numbers.

“We actually just started doing this last year, and I think it’s a great way to get to know everyone and do something other than lacrosse. For each individual team, we usually do a team sleepover and scavenger hunt, which is always super fun,” junior and varsity attack Charlotte Zera said.

The culture the program hopes to inspire is embodied in their team mission statement: “our team will strive to achieve athletic excellence, academic rigor, encourage and praise meaningful individual achievement and foster virtue. We will collectively aspire the competition and education that prepares the team members for higher learning and for lives of purpose and service. We will remember that each day is just another opportunity for the pursuit of excellence.” The girls have all agreed to uphold this pledge.

Right now we have a really fun and stress-free environment at lacrosse and I hope it stays like that. We want it to be a place where people can come and know they will be accepted. If someone is down or can’t play or is sad, we all try to see what’s up and do whatever we can to fix it or make it better for them,” freshman and JV defender Betsy Weaver said.

Weaver decided to join lacrosse after she made the decision to stop playing soccer and try something new. She sees the large team as a way to find community.

“I really love experimenting and learning new things and playing with new people. Having such a big team is really fun because I have gotten to meet a lot of people and people in different grades or people I wouldn’t normally talk to,” Weaver said.

As the program grows, coaches Lovercheck, Chris Johnson, Courtney Brockmeyer and Tom Herpel attend conferences and are continually looking for ways to make the program the best it can be.

“We try to reflect after the season and set goals on what we can improve on to make the program better. Coaches attend national and local conferences to help with this. However, I believe the biggest contribution is the players we have come out to be a part of the program.  They are hard working, want to be there and want to get better,” Lovercheck said. “We hope to build a positive and inviting atmosphere that is not all about winning and losing, more like a family feel than just a team.”

Practicing daily, working on forming offensive plays and improving their defensive strategies, the team hopes to make it to the top 10 in the state tournament.

“We are really focusing on staying in the game mentally and not letting up. When we get our heads in the game, we play really well, and I think this will lead us to ranking well in the state,” Zera said.

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