Face plates, knee pads, mouth guards, goalies and sticks with nets are all factors in a sport not traditionally played within large cities below the collegiate level.
Lacrosse, traditionally a sport popular in suburban areas, has found a home in the form of the Little Flowers Catholic High School for Girls in Hunting Park.
With 12 players on the field for each team, and each wielding a netted stick vying to obtain a small, yellow ball and score in the opposite team’s goal, games can get pretty intense.
Nicole Barth, 17, is a senior on the lacrosse team and has been enamored by the sport since her freshman year when she first learned how to play.
“Usually, it’s from a fast break. You just have to beat your defender. It’s all about speed,” Barth said. “But there are plays that you can set up where you just pass it around and try to score.”
For many of the girls, playing lacrosse has been a growing process, which grew into camaraderie and sisterhood. Erin Keyes, another senior on the team, gave up playing a sport she played all her life to try something different.
“When I got to high school my freshman year I stopped playing softball, I had played softball all my life. I really wanted to play lacrosse and once you start playing you feel so free. It gives you a better feeling than any other sport I’ve ever played. These girls are like my sisters,” Keyes said.
Abby O’Beirne is the head lacrosse coach at Little Flowers with extensive experience coaching and playing Lacrosse for various colleges and womens leagues. Dressed in all
black, O’Beirne encouraged her girls from the sidelines, shouting out instructions and raising team morale. Some of her goals are to develop these young girls not only in lacrosse, but also for their futures.
“The ref said that this was the best Little Flowers lacrosse team she has seen thus far, so it really makes me feel proud,” O’Beirne said. “I’d like to teach them a few things but mostly to have confidence in themselves and have compassion for something they want to do. When they make the decision in the future to get that job to give it 100 percent to be successful, and they’ll gain confidence from that.”
The Little Flowers varsity team won its first home game against Bishop McDevitt High School 15-7. The next home game will be on April 12 against Lansdale Catholic High School.