Lacrosse nets IHSA recognition

Hannah Darbro, Staff Writer

Cheetahs Girls Lacrosse is beginning to attract prospective players for its very first year as an Illinois High School Association team.
“We just got our IHSA sponsorship last year. We were waiting for lacrosse to be as popular here as it is on the East and West coast,” Kelly Dubbins, assistant coach, said.
Most girls come from Plainfield North, with the fewest attending Central. Home games will be held at Plainfield South, due to differing field dimensions between girls’ and boys’ lacrosse.
The Cheetahs will play their first game at home against Lincoln Way on April 9.
“We have a great group of girls who welcome everyone who joins. Many of my best friends have been made through this team who I otherwise wouldn’t have known due to them going to different schools,” North junior Natalie Monroe said.
Christina Calderon, junior at North, said this year she is focusing on assits to “make sure other new players get goals.”
Although a roster has not been made yet, the coaching staff anticipates the team to be half returning players and half first-timers.
“Lacrosse is a game where girls can actually be aggressive and show off skills that people don’t think they have,” Calderon said.
New and seasoned players alike say that lacrosse has similarities to other sports but also has aspects that make it unique and attractive to athletes looking to try something new.
“I like that it’s a place where girls can be active and more competitive,” Central sophomore Payton Middleton said. “Everyone has been so welcoming.”
Even through lacrosse is a mix of field hockey and soccer, coaches and athletes say that it is an easy sport to pick up.
“It includes teamwork and communication; I wouldn’t say [lacrosse] is that different than other sports,” Emily Worden, senior at Central, said.
“It’s not something you would play in a gym class,” Dubbins said.
Cheetahs lacrosse was founded in May 2013 as a club team and continues to get a majority of its funding from the parents of athletes.
“Being a IHSA team will give us more exposure since we are now recognized as a school sport by the district. As a club, we did not receive many benefits that we now receive as a team such as playing and practice space in district facilities,” Monroe said.
The Cheetahs will play their opening season with just a JV team, but they hope to have enough players to start a Varsity team in 2019, and continue to grow from there.