The Clover High School girls’ lacrosse team, still in its infancy after debuting last season as a new sport, lost to an elite North Carolina team 21-2 at home last Friday.
Marvin Ridge of Union County, N.C., a contender for the state championship this season, scored early and often in a dominating performance.
While she was in no way pleased with the outcome, Lady Blue Eagle head coach Daniel John knows there are better days ahead for the Clover lacrosse program.
“We need a feeder program in order to reach the next level,” John said.
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Though Marvin Ridge was a force from the outset, the CHS girls had their moments in the season opener for both teams.
Senior standout Lily Parker maneuvered her way with success on the offensive end, scoring both Clover goals in the process.
John said there are positive signs as the Clover lacrosse team moves forward this season.
“We have better numbers this year than our first year of fielding a lacrosse team, with seven to eight new participants contributing to the team,” John said.
“We should have the numbers next season to establish a jayvee team, which will help build the program to where it needs to be,” she said.
Senior mainstay Holly Parker, a leader by example and a firm believer that the CHS lacrosse program will flourish, is proud to be associated with the team.
It didn’t take long for the second-year participant to learn the fundamentals of a sport she knew nothing about before last season.
“Once I learned what to do on the field, I found out how much I enjoyed the sport,” Parker said. “I love lacrosse.”
She said progress is being made and the Lady Blue Eagles will be competitive this season.
“We have a good many players back from last year and first-year participants helping us and learning the game,” said Parker. “We play teams that have a good many club lacrosse players.”
She encourages young athletes in the Clover School District to consider becoming a lacrosse participant. “It doesn’t take long to learn what the sport is all about,” said Parker.
John, who played college soccer, has become adept at coaching lacrosse. She shares her passion for the new sport at Clover High with team members.
With high school lacrosse a relatively new sport in this region of the country, there are three teams in the area. York Comprehensive High School does not yet offer the sport.
“We will consider lacrosse someday in York School District One,” said YCHS athletic director Steve Boyd. “Our focus has been to expand the athletic department at York Middle School.”
John said the Clover High lacrosss team is “competitive with Nation Ford. Fort Mill is another level.”
In an effort to tap into the potential for girls’ and boys’ lacrosse at CHS, athletic director Carroll Hester conducted a feasibility study last year, before school board approval of the new sport.
The study revealed that 141 students (97 boys, 44 girls) in grades six to 11 expressed interest in competing in lacrosse, if the sport became an option. Of those surveyed, 25 said they had played lacrosse in the past or were playing it.
High school lacrosse continues to attract curiosity-seekers from the CHS student body. “We have kids who’ve never picked up a stick, showing up to play lacrosse,” John said.