The sun is shining and a light breeze is blowing Monday, March 4, as the team of 26 girls run drills on the large field behind MVHS. They practice scooping up the rubber lacrosse balls from the grass while on the run and passing to one another without the receiver stopping.
The girls occasionally drop the balls and have trouble keeping them inside the mesh scoops at the end of their lacrosse sticks, but coach Andrea Keinath isn't worried.
"This is a pretty beginner team," she explains of her squad. It's a fact she understood upon taking the job, and she is excited for the opportunity to build the girls lacrosse program from the ground up.
"We are just trying to get the kids to catch and throw. They have already come a long way," she said, especially the girls who picked up a lacrosse stick for the first time three weeks ago. "I'm hoping that by the end of the season (which begins March 12) we'll have the skills down."
Keinath's goal is for her junior varsity team to win half the games they play this season.
Next year, Keinath says she aims to have both JV and varsity girls lacrosse squads. But right now, given that it is the team's first year and considering the level of talent on the squad, Keinath said it made sense to only have a JV team this year.
The idea to start the team came came last year while Moor and her classmate Leah Kidd (also a junior) struck up a conversation about lacrosse in their sophomore English class. Kidd, whose boyfriend played on the boys lacrosse team was picking Moor's brain about the sport — asking how it worked for girls and wondering if there was a way to start a team at MVHS.
The two girls decided to talk to Principal Keith Moody and Athletic Director John Payne. The school officials gave their blessing to the girls' project, but informed them that the district would not be able to contribute any money to the team. And so Moor and Kidd divvied up tasks — with Moor using her mother's expertise to launch a search for a coach and to raise money. After a number of interviews, Moor and her mother landed on Keinath — a Wheaton College grad with more than 10 years of experience playing lacrosse and coaching teams in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Silicon Valley.
The girls and their parents have raised a total of $5,090 — for coach stipends, equipment, uniforms and other assorted items, and are happy to take more for the program. The money has been raised largely through word-of-mouth campaigns, mass emails to parents and through social media sites. Moor's mother, Karen, says that the girls are about $1,000 shy of their goal.
While it is true that Moor's mother helped out in a significant way, it is clear that the team would not have been started without the two teen's passion for lacrosse. Knowing that the team was formed by students strikes sophomore team member Hannah Robinson as "really cool."
"I think that it will stay at the school because it is student-driven," Robinson says. "You can tell that the girls who started the team have a real passion for it."
That passion may stem from the nature of the sport itself, which Robinson described as being very "graceful" and "freeing."
The girls are proud of the work that they have done so far in getting the girls lacrosse team up and running. Looking back at the early days of the process, Moor recalls being told that she wouldn't be able to start a team because she was just a teenager and Kidd says she was sometimes laughed off by her peers who told her that lacrosse is a boys' sport.
Both of them now feel a sense of vindication and accomplishment.
"There's nothing I love more than beating the odds," Kidd says. "And somebody telling me that I can't do that just motivates me more to step forward and just do it."
Unfortunately, Kidd will not be on the team this year, due to health issues. But she may be back next season.
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