Keller girls prep for first varsity lacrosse season

Posted Monday, Nov. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Keller ISD lacrosse season will have a little different look this season in a sport that has been on the rise.

The first-ever girls varsity team will begin its spring season after a weather-shortened fall season gave a glimpse of potential for success.

The last three years, the KISD girls lacrosse team has participated in the JV division. Last season, the group came away as district champions.

Now, it’s time to move up to the varsity division.

Although the boys squads relegate their season to the spring only, the girls tested the varsity waters this fall.

The Keller ISD team – a “district-recognized club sport” – played two games in the Halloween Shootout in McKinney. They beat Vandergrift, 8-4, and Cedar Park, 13-3.

The remaining two games of the tournament were rained out.

“We look forward to the challenges of a higher level of play and bringing success to our Keller community,” said girls head coach Tracey Perry.

Perry said that most of the practice time spent with the heavily freshman and sophomore squad is a lot of “skills and drills.”

“Lacrosse is a great outlet for competitive and athletic girls,” Perry said. Tryouts will be open to new players in the spring, she said.

Some players on the KISD team do have some lacrosse experience.

Hannah Cullis, a Central senior, and Lauren Skalniak, a Keller sophomore, have been playing the sport for several years.

“My sister got me started when it was becoming popular in Ohio,” Cullis said. “I used to play soccer and basketball, but I wanted to just focus on lacrosse now,” she said.

Skalniak said her father’s influence from having played at the Naval Academy got her started on the sport.

“My dad introduced me to it and I’ve loved it ever since,” Skalniak said. “I was playing volleyball, but lacrosse is what I wanted to pursue. Lacrosse offers fierce competition and you have to have that grit and perseverance. It’s a personal test. I love the grit and competition.”

The more seasoned Keller players said there are a few things which can be tale-tell signs of a lacrosse rookie.

“I can tell newer players when it comes to positioning on the field,” Skalniak said. “Or, how they hold their stick. Facial expressions and body language are also signs,” she said.

Cullis agreed with some of the techniques being the difference in becoming an effective player, but also noted elements of experience which she feels are important to her Keller team.

“You have to be aware of where every player is,” Cullis said. “You have to communicate on the field. That’s the most important part of the game.”

As it relates to making the jump to competing on the varsity level, the players said the fall season gave a favorable taste, but they know there’s tough competition ahead.

“It was difficult, but we did better than we thought we would,” Cullis said. “We were (JV) district champs last year, but we’ve got to do well this year. I feel like it will be a challenge. We’ve scrimmaged a few varsity teams, so we got a taste for it. I think it’s going to be a good season.”

“I’ve seen definite progress,” Skalniak said. “Our main concern is developing trust in the teammates since we have so many new people. I’m pleased with the way we played (in the fall),” she added. “We’re getting back into the swing of things, but we still have work to do. There are a lot of teams with more experience at the varsity level, but we’ll have more talent coming in.”

The district will be loaded, Perry said, including teams such as Coppell, Colleyville, Allen, Frisco, Rockwall, Highland Park and Hockaday in Division II.

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