Since the establishment of Marlborough’s first lacrosse team two years ago, the sport has expanded rapidly into one of the School’s most popular programs. In 2012, Kathryn ’14 and Alex ’14 proposed to Athletic Director David Collicutt and Head of School Barbara Wagner that Marlborough should create a lacrosse team. What began as a lunchtime clinic in 2012 has evolved within three seasons into a program whose varsity team advanced into the CIF-Southern Section playoffs last spring.
“Of course it’s a great thing that it is a competitive Varsity sport, and I’m so glad to hear that it’s doing extremely well and that there are so many people interested in playing and trying out,” Kathryn said.
With 38 girls enrolled in the J Period pre-season Athlete Conditioning for lacrosse–and with a handful more expected to join teams when the season tips off–Collicutt said that the size of lacrosse’s preseason program tops even Marlborough’s well-established volleyball program. He shared that the flourishing of Marlborough’s newest sport surpassed his expectations.
“I’m glad that it’s here. I’m glad that our girls have found it exciting and enjoyable, and I’m glad we’re able to offer a program for them and ultimately with the new field [thanks to the Arden Project], a facility for them…I did not expect it to grow this quickly at all,” Collicutt said.
Players attributed the growth of the program to the enjoyment that girls find in playing lacrosse itself and in trying something new.
“I know this is kind of cliché, but it’s actually a really fun experience to play on a team, playing a sport that you all really enjoy together,” attacker Sophie ’17, who began playing lacrosse last year, said.
In addition to the appeal of the sport itself, Mia ’16, a defender entering her third lacrosse season, credited the tight-knit nature of the teams as one of the primary reasons players have taken so quickly and ardently to the program.
“The girls, all of us have this really close bond. Because we all are so new to the sport, we really have to work together and kind of teach other new things,” she said.
Not only has the program increased in size over the past two years but also in intensity. In addition to offering the inaugural J Period training during the winter season, the Athletics Department has increased the number of practices for both teams, with Varsity and JV now playing five and four days a week, respectively.
Many players shared their enthusiasm about the School’s increased dedication to lacrosse as well as about new head coach Jill Tomback. Tomback worked as an assistant coach at Marlborough last year and has assumed the reigns of a burgeoning program from former head coach Amanda Riggins.
“We have one league season under our belt, and we have girls with a real drive to learn and excel in this sport,” Tomback said, adding that the program’s mentality is “Let’s be fun, but we need to take it seriously and work really hard to keep improving.”
In the first season since the graduation of Johnson and Thompson, returning players will look to fill the scoring and leadership roles that last year’s senior class provided for the team. Many Varsity players, Tomback and Collicutt expressed the hope that this season will continue to build upon the success and momentum of last year, Marlborough’s first season in league play.
“That was so exciting! I can’t believe we made it to the playoffs,” team captain and attacker Libby ’15 said. In explaining the keys for a playoff berth this year, Shoemaker said, “I think that we need to work on making sure everyone knows the basics and then we can sort of take it from there.”
The School continues to focus efforts on bolstering the program. For the middle school, the Physical Education Department implemented a lacrosse unit to give seventh and eighth graders exposure to the sport before they enter high school. According to Collicutt, among his medium-term goals for lacrosse is to establish a middle school team that could act as a feeder into JV and then to Varsity, strengthening the program as a whole.