Lacrosse, the fastest sport played on two feet, has finally made its impact on Leesville Road High School. Not long ago, the mens and womens teams began and have grown on and off the field.
Officially starting in 2012, the men’s lacrosse team began with only a varsity team. Prior to the creation of the varsity team, many of the boys played for Leesville’s club team. Playing on the club team allowed many to gain experience and skills. The following season Leesville introduced a J.V. team and from there a powerhouse had been formed, or as Eric Fitz, a senior member of the men’s team, said, “The rise of Leesville lacrosse started”.
The team’s stats have improved dramatically since their debut in 2012. They were able to grow as players alongside one another and strengthen their playing skills as a team. The boys have become a top competitor in the Cap 8 and the state championship.
The women’s lacrosse team began in 2014 with around twenty members. Many of the girls had never touched a lacrosse stick or seen a rulebook prior to joining the team. This was a major dilemma for the team, which resulted in a season full of losses. Although there were many opportunities for the girls to quit, they kept their heads high and became determined to make an impact. After many seasons of tough grind, Leesville’s women’s lacrosse program will finally be adding a J.V. team in the 2016 spring season.
“Starting from a group of about twenty girls, we’re up to forty and fifty girls trying out, so it has gotten big,” said Jack Rogers, the first women’s lacrosse coach and athletic director at Leesville. The girls have worked hard to focus on increasing their skill level and intensity as a team. The increase of interest in the sport has made it possible to expand and become more competitive.
Both the men’s and women’s lacrosse team look for support from the school, as they are still maturing as teams. The presence of a boy’s club team made it much easier for them to gain recognition from their peers as being a competitive sport.
However, the women’s team was not so lucky.
The girls started from the bottom but, piece by piece, created a strong unit of players. The support from the male lacrosse players aided the women’s team in their growth. The boys offered to help the girls with their stick work and accuracy.
“I definitely think it was a lot tougher in the beginning because we didn’t really have the support of everyone in the community, but in my second year playing, my junior year, the guy’s team definitely supported us a lot more. They started to come to our games; they realized that we actually worked hard, but that we were just a beginning level team, so we did face the skill level disability that other schools didn’t really face at the time,” said Becca Mountz, senior and 2015 co-captain.
The women’s team worked hard and persevered in order to win games and impress the crowd. When the men’s lacrosse team and classmates saw that the the women’s lacrosse was an actual hard working and determined team, they immediately wanted to bring support to the girls.
The women’s lacrosse players return the favor to the men’s team by bringing as much spirit and hype to the men’s games. They encourage the student body to attend lacrosse games and cheer on their classmates as they compete against tough teams.
The boys enjoy helping the girls on shooting and playing smart; the girls love to watch the boys struggle with playing with a women’s stick. By learning the different techniques of the men’s game and women’s game, it brings back the original form of lacrosse. Because both teams intermingle with each other they gain a particular respect for each other’s game. The each have understanding of the differences in the game and acceptance for the hard work each team has to provide to be successful. Personally knowing how each game is played bonds them even more as a lacrosse family.
With many more lacrosse seasons to come and the high rate of growth from Leesville Road High School’s lacrosse teams, the future’s looking bright for these athletes and the school’s athletic record. If they continue to build their skill levels and pride for the game both teams will become unstoppable. The effort from each team expresses its love for the sport and all the people who play it.