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Girls Lacrosse to Debut in Spring

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This year they will have their own team!

This year they will have their own team!

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This year they will have their own team!

By Taisa Strouse, Miami Country Day School in Miami, Florida

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After years of discussion, girls lacrosse will be coming to Miami Country Day School this spring. 

“Hopefully we can have enough girls out there to make up a middle school and a high school team,” newly named coach Jason Pelletier said.  “So hopefully there will be two teams, but if not, we are aiming for a mixed JV one. I’ve already been in contact with other teams in the area, and they are looking forward to having Country Day join the lacrosse family on the girls side.“

Pelletier, who has been coaching for seven years at clubs from Coral Springs to Massachusetts, is the Founder and Director of the Miami Lightning Lacrosse Club, which practices on the Country Day field on weekends.  According to Athletic Director Chuck Sennett, the club’s success is one of the factors that led to his hiring.

“He kind of came to me and he had been saying let’s do it for so long,” Sennett recalls. “I eventually concluded that it was the right time and he is the right guy to start the program. He’s a good coach and a great guy.”

Current freshmen Andrea Pantin and Rachel Hodes joined the Middle School boys lacrosse team this past spring.

LAX player Rachel Hodes

“Last year I really wanted to play lacrosse, but there wasn’t a girls team so I decided, ‘Why not try out for the guys,’” Hodes explains. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it in high school so my friend Andrea Pantin and I went around the school writing down names of girls who would join the team if Country Day had one. Our parents had a meeting with Mr. Sennett and after all, they decided to make one.”

There will be a meeting for all interested athletes on September 7 during lunch. Pelletier plans to start training Mondays and Thursdays beginning August 27 to familiarize prospective athletes with the sport.

Many upper school students want to know about opponents. Sennett addressed this with confidence, explaining that many South Florida high schools have girls lacrosse teams. This list includes Gulliver Prep, Ransom, American Heritage, St. Thomas Aquinas, and many more.

The central difference between girls and boys lacrosse is contact. The boys are allowed, and sometimes even encouraged, to body check other players. This shows in their gear. They are required to have a helmet, mouthguard, and shoulder and elbow pads, while girls must wear only padded goggles and a mouthguard. Contact is prohibited.

“Girls are not allowed to hit the body like boys, who have full pads and can use their bodies,” Coach Pelletier explained. “In girls, they can use their sticks to hit the heads of the other sticks but there is no physical contact involved.”   

This season, however, the required gear for girls is changing in Florida. After a long history of only requiring eyewear, The Florida High School Athletic Association made a controversial decision mandating that players must wear to reduce the number of concussions.

Pelletier, Sennett and many students are looking forward to the introduction of the program.

“I hope it has consistency throughout the year,” Sennett said. “I hope it has some longevity. I don’t want to be a program that we are going to start and in three years we aren’t going to have. Girls lacrosse is becoming huge in South Florida, and I hope we start one that ten years from now we might have a state championship in. You never know.”

This story was originally published on The Spartacus on August 29, 2018.

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