Girls lacrosse strives for 5th straight city title


Daniela Ciesielski

Girls Lacrosse has been conditioning since November, with tryouts coming up Feb. 25. The team hopes to repeat as city champions and make a run in state playoffs.

By Patricia Abulencia, Sports Editor

Tryouts for lacrosse have changed immensely since Ms. Malstrom’s first year of coaching. Years ago, the tryout consisted of learning how to hold the stick and having basic knowledge of the game. Being physical or athletic could have been enough to be on the team, according to Malstrom.

Now, about half the girls on the team have previously played lacrosse which means they already have a foundation.

“Having club experience and playing during the off-season is something that makes it easier for someone to make the varsity team,” Malstrom said.

Girls Varsity Lacrosse has reigned as city champions since 2015. Last season, the team had 12 wins overall with only 6 losses, according to MaxPreps.

Captain Valerie Villanueva, Div. 981, looks forward to her last season playing with Lane and will continue her lacrosse career at Illinois Wesleyan University. As captain, Villanueva wants to make sure the lacrosse program continues to improve even after she graduates.

“I’m not just going to have a great season, make it the best and leave the underclassmen in the dust,” Villanueva said. “I want to make sure they know how to build the program.”

As part of building the program, girls lacrosse has raised thousands of dollars through their booster club and is creating an alumni association, according to Villanueva.

Midfielder Kat Powers, Div. 965, notes a change in terms of preparation for the season.

“Since my freshman year, girls lax has gotten more strict in terms of conditioning, focusing on speed and agility rather than stick skills,” Powers said. “Most of the team has strong stick skills, but our conditioning and speed aren’t the best.”

According to Villanueva, some girls miss conditioning because they play club lacrosse or are playing a second sport at Lane.

Conditioning is a big part of being able to keep up with competition outside of Chicago, according to Powers. Within Chicago, Northside College Prep is their biggest opponent. To win the city championship in 2018, Lane defeated Northside 14-8, according to MaxPreps.  

“Conditioning is really important because a lot of suburban schools have been conditioning since the start of school, so they’re a lot faster and stronger than us right now,” Powers said. “The more we condition the more we can compete with them.”

A new addition to this year’s team is Assistant Coach Catherine Shepardson, who played defense in college, according to Malstrom.

“[Shepardson] is from Florida and then played Division I lacrosse at San Diego State University and moved to Chicago,” Malstrom said.

This upcoming season, a main goal for the team is to not only win the city championship again but to also get past the first and second round of state.

Last year, the girls lacrosse team was the only team in the city that won in the first round of state playoffs, according to Malstrom.

“The only way for people in state to take you seriously is if you start winning state games,”
Malstrom said. “Winning our first state game was a huge milestone for our team and now we want to win two.”