Last spring, Spencer Yu was unsure if he’d have enough players to put together a Women’s Lacrosse Team at Lick. This year, with 37 women on the roster, Yu, the head coach of the Women’s Lacrosse Team, has nothing to worry about.
The unprecedented growth of the women’s lacrosse program is largely due to the shift of women’s soccer from the spring to the fall. Suddenly finding themselves without a spring sport, a number of soccer players found themselves drawn to lacrosse because of the similarities between the two sports. Senior Sydni Green, a first time lacrosse player, told the Paper Tiger, “The only thing different is the lacrosse stick and all the specific rules. Otherwise it is kind of a combination of basketball and soccer.”
The team’s growth can also be attributed to an unheard of number of freshman women trying out for the team – 14 of the team’s 37 players are freshmen. Some players, such as Pilar McDonald ’19, had played lacrosse before. The Lick team has seen an increasing number of freshmen with prior lacrosse experience joining the team, largely as a result of more girls picking up the sport in middle school. According to US Lacrosse, California has some of the fastest growth in the number of lacrosse players in the state from 2001 to 2013. In 2014 alone, the number of youth players grew by nearly 425,000.
Still, a number of freshmen joined the team with no prior lacrosse experience. The team’s positive reputation inspired many freshmen to try a new sport. When asked why she chose to join lacrosse,Sara Kashani ’19 said, “I had heard such great things about the sport, and wanted to try it out for myself and see what it had to offer.” McDonald echoed Kashani’s sentiment, telling the Paper Tiger that she had noticed that “girls’ Lax was the best team at Lick so it was hard to resist.”
Greater numbers have allowed the team to have much more success on the field than in previous years. Since the team was founded in 2008, the team has never won more games than it has lost; this year, the team has already clinched a winning record. Last year, their record was just six and seven. Their mediocre record wasn’t a reflection of the talent of the team, but rather their lack of numbers. With usually just a handful of substitutes, players would be forced to play most of the game.
In contrast, this year the team is eight and one. However, what their record doesn’t show is how dominant the team has been in its victories. Of their eight games, the team has won five by five points or more. Their biggest win was a 15-1 rout of Head-Royce, followed by a 14-1 win over Urban two days later.
The team is currently four and zero in league games, tied for first place in NCS with four other undefeated teams, including rival University. If they continue the momentum that they have brought early in the season, the team will certainly make NCS.
The Women’s Lacrosse Team is poised for success, not just this season, but for many seasons to come. The team has a strong group of underclassmen including goalie Sarah Dean ’18, Emily Rupright ’18 voted MVP last year as a freshman, and several talented freshmen includingKashani, McDonald, and Shannon Raymundo ’19. While the team is graduating seven seniors, only two of them are veteran players. However, the culture on the lacrosse team that Michelle Soledad ’16 and Julia Howard ’16 have helped shape will have a lasting impact on the team. Kashani gushed about the positive culture of the team, stating, “The team is incredibly cohesive, and the Lick girls’ team is insanely amazing. Everyone has each other’s backs.”