By Brandon HENSLEY
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Crescenta Valley High School girls’ lacrosse program, and expectations are high for the coaches as the team assembles in the fall before moving into its inaugural season in the spring.
The first lacrosse team in the school’s history was put together earlier this year with the help of former CVHS administrator Rene Valdez, new administrator Forest Holbrook and girls’ athletic director Peter Kim. Together, they helped Head Coach Boz Crowther and his assistant coach Eitye (“e-tie”) Shecklow make this a possibility, and now it’s up to the coaches and new players to see how far the Lady Falcons go.
The team held a skills clinic a couple of weeks ago and formal tryouts on Aug. 21 at Rosemont Middle School. Both days saw upwards of almost 30 girls come out, most of them new to the sport.
“We were very pleasantly surprised by that. We were hoping for around 20 [girls],” said Crowther, whose daughter is sophomore Leah, a team captain who played lacrosse when Crowther was coaching at Rosemont. Shecklow’s daughter Abby, another sophomore, is also a team captain.
“They went a lot better than expected,” Shecklow said of the tryouts. “It was a fantastic turnout as far as we’re concerned. To watch girls who don’t even know what they’re stepping into take it by the reins and show up and try something new was pretty awesome.”
Crowther said enough girls showed up for the program to likely make room for a junior varsity team, something that initially wasn’t expected for this season. That way, as Shecklow explained, it will give the girls, most of them freshman and sophomores, enough playing time to gain necessary experience instead of some of them being on the sidelines for a full varsity team.
Crowther was looking for girls who were enthusiastic and willing to try something new.
“We found 30 girls who fit that description,” he said.
The tryouts and skills clinic consisted of coaches explaining and showing players how to handle a lacrosse stick, how to pick up the ball from the ground, and how to throw and catch the ball.
“Most of the mechanics in lacrosse are mechanics of something you’ve done for something else,” Crowther said. “Throwing with a lacrosse stick is almost exactly the same motion as throwing a ball. But that’s counterintuitive, because you’ve gone from throwing a ball with your hand to throwing a ball with a stick. It’s almost like you’re throwing the stick, you just don’t let go of it.”
Having Leah and Abby on hand helped Crowther, who said he relies maybe a little too much on them on how to do to things properly.
“They actually both get a little tired of it because we use them a lot for examples,” he said, but added both are good at repeating what they’ve been taught and breaking it down for girls who’ve never played before. The other girls can be more comfortable around them instead of the coaches, Crowther said.
Not that Crowther isn’t good at what he does. According to Shecklow, Crowther is a motivational coach who pushes players to be better on the field, at home and in the community.
“He’s definitely a guy who can get a lot out of these kids. I’ve seen that over the last five years,” Shecklow said. “Those are reasons why I’ve stuck with [coaching with him] that long.”
Before official practices start up around February, Crowther said he’d like for his players to start conditioning several times a week and also work on their stick handling. Those practices he’d like to begin this fall.
Shecklow said expectations are high, believe it or not, for this first season.
Everyone involved is excited to see what this new team can do come March. Glendale High School, last year’s Pacific League champion, knows the Falcons are coming for them, said Shecklow.
“We definitely expect these girls to give Glendale a run for their money,” he said. “Our goal is to make an impact in league immediately.”