A year ago, Tunkhannock started its girls lacrosse program with a junior high team. This season, a varsity team has started play.
Lloyd McCain’s squad had 13 girls, just enough to make a team. Most teams have 25-30 girls.
“Seven of the girls never played (lacrosse) before, and our goalie is a first-year goalie,” McCain said of his new program.
As for almost every new team, there are growing pains. The Tigers have faced tough opponents, such as powerhouses Wyoming Seminary and Dallas.
“I think those two were the toughest of them all,” McCain said. “They’ve all been pretty tough. We scored a decent amount of goals. Best game we had was against Scranton Prep, also a first-year program, we lost 8-4. We’re (0-7), but were getting better.”
And with the weather not cooperating this spring, it leaves the Tigers at a bigger disadvantage.
The team has seven freshmen, three sophomores, and just four seniors. Three of the seniors played on the community lacrosse team, which started in 2010.
Regardless of what the score is, McCain tries to keep the players’ hopes up.
“Some new girls who look really good just need more time together and more time to practice,” McCain said. “We had to reschedule a whole bunch of games for that. All the coaches we played against seemed really nice. I know some played their second-string to give us chance.”
Tunkhannock will have a varsity program for at least the next two years.
“As long as we keep after them and their friends tell them how much fun they’re having,” McCain said. “The eighth grade girls are really enjoying themselves.”
McCain served as an assistant to head coach Jana Hotfer on the community lacrosse team, while she helped organized the junior high program.
For many of the girls who joined, field hockey was the biggest influence. From what players told McCain, the aspects are similar between the two sports, and how offenses and defenses run. As for crossing over, it is only the difference of a stick and ball.
“There were a few girls who were real serious about it and upset about not having a team,” McCain said. “Savannah Gleason, our goalie, was influential to ask some sophomores to play on the team from the field hockey team.”
Gleason has had a .500 save percentage on the season up to this point.
The ties between McCain and lacrosse go back a few years.
“My daughter (Harley) and her friend decided to play lacrosse in eighth grade. They started with lessons from the boys lacrosse team,” he said.
Harley McCain is one of four seniors on the varsity squad. The three experienced seniors are the captains of the team. With her and the other three leaving the team at the end of the season, there will be new players to take over their leadership.
“With our junior high program, there are nine or 10 girls to help fill the void for the seniors who are leaving and give us a larger team,” coach McCain said. “We have some good freshman girls who came out of the junior-high program last year.”