Girls lacrosse program sees increased interest, growth

E-W junior varsity team is 6-2 in its third year of play
By David Pan | May 05, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Edmonds-Woodway junior varsity co-captain Megan Yates has been playing lacrosse for three years.

If word of mouth is any indication of the popularity of a sport, then it’s clear that girls lacrosse is booming in the Pacific Northwest.

Edmonds-Woodway junior varsity team co-captains Lexi Catton and Megan Yates both have played different sports, ranging from soccer to basketball.

Last year, a friend encouraged Catton to come out for lacrosse.

“I was looking for a spring sport to play to stay in shape year round and I fell in love with it,” said Catton, who also is a member of the Edmonds-Woodway girls soccer team. “It’s a great way to spend time with friends.”

Three years ago, a friend of Yates also encouraged her to come out for what was a new girls lacrosse team that was forming. Yates, now a senior at Edmonds-Woodway High School, is entering her third year with the team.

“It’s a really fun sport to play,” said Yates, who previously played basketball and soccer. “This is more of a relaxed sport that’s still competitive.”

Girls lacrosse is a non-contact game with 12 players, including a goalkeeper, five attackers and six defenders. The objective is to shoot the ball in the opponent’s goal.

Edmonds Lacrosse, the organization that oversees the Edmonds-Woodway junior varsity team and a U-15 squad, reorganized this year as an all-girls club. The boys program is now operated by Meadowdale Lacrosse.

The roster of the junior varsity team consists of 15 players, mainly from Edmonds-Woodway High School, although the team also can draw from the three other Edmonds School District high schools, the Shoreline School District and King’s High School. Three players are from Shorecrest High School.

Head coach Patrick Santel and assistant coach Justin VanNess assumed the helm of the Warriors after the previous coach left to go back to school. Both have daughters on the team.

Edmonds-Woodway went 5-5 last season and currently is 6-2.

“It’s been a tremendously successful year,” Santel said. “The girls have really enjoyed it and the good thing is that it gets the word out to their classmates. … They’re all very supportive of each other, which is great to see. We try to promote a good culture.”

The team saw an influx of new players this season, some of who came in with prior experience and some who did not.

Even the more experienced players are still relatively new to the sports, Yates noted.

“When the team started every single player was brand new, so it’s not like any of us are super advanced,” she said. “If you played any sport, like soccer or basketball, the skills transfer over – like the mentality of the team, positioning and defense.”

VanNess noted that the newcomers are experiencing success on the field.

“We have five brand new girls and all of them but one have scored this year,” he said.

At some point in the near future, Edmonds-Woodway will move up to the varsity level. The rules state that a program has to field a junior varsity team for three years before starting a varsity squad. The Warriors probably will stay with a junior varsity team next year.

Lacrosse is a club sport at the high school level and is not officially sanctioned by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

The lack of formal support hasn’t diminished the popularity of the sport.

“It’s just another sport for girls to play and girls are getting more involved,” Catton said. “It used to be just a guys’ sport.”

When she talks about lacrosse with people, Catton finds that most don’t know much about the sport. She describes lacrosse as unique and different.

“You ask someone on the street ‘what’s lacrosse?’ and they’re going to have no idea,” Catton said. “It’s a unique sport. I think that has a certain draw to it.”

For more information on Edmonds Lacrosse see www.edmondslacrosse.com.

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