Penn-Trafford lacrosse program continues to grow
As it builds toward official WPIAL membership in 2015, the Penn-Trafford boys lacrosse team isn't shying away from playing more established teams from around the area.
Case in point: In their first year as an official school-supported sport, the Warriors played games against Indiana and Latrobe — both of whom advanced to the WPIAL playoffs this season.
While the results weren't pretty — “We got it handed to us pretty good,” said coach Rob Martin — the experiences were still valuable.
“Some of these (teams had) kids who had been playing for a number of years, up through the youth program,” Martin said. “Most of our kids have been playing one or two years, so it kind of showed us where we need to get to if we want to compete with these programs.”
The Penn-Trafford Lacrosse Association, which formed in 2011, fielded six teams during the 2013 season.
In addition to the varsity team, which is currently operating as a club team at Penn-Trafford High School, the association had a junior varsity and freshman team, along with under-15, under-13 and under-11 squads.
Nearly 100 players competed on the lacrosse association's six teams.
Until Penn-Trafford becomes an official member of the WPIAL, the team is responsible for scheduling its own games. In addition to Latrobe and Hempfield, Penn-Trafford's varsity team played other lacrosse newcomers like Gateway and Hempfield. The team finished 2-7.
“I think the kids had a good time, which is the most important thing,” Martin said. “This year, that was our biggest objective: to have our team continue to grow and continue to have a good time. We accomplished that, so from that standpoint it was successful.”
Martin pointed to the success of some of the younger-level teams as a reason to be optimistic for the program's future. The junior varsity team finished 4-4 and the freshman team went 2-5, but the under-15 (8-6), under-13 (10-4) and under-11 (5-4-1) teams all finished with winning records.
“The most promising thing was not only were we competitive, but we played some established programs in the area, like Bethel Park, Indiana, Pine-Richland (and) Seneca Valley,” Martin said. “All those (teams), from the youth standpoint, have had programs for many years. I think our youth program being able to compete, play and come out victorious in a lot of those games was very exciting for us.”
With official WPIAL membership still a season away, Martin said the goal for next year's varsity team will be improvement. He said the biggest area in need of improvement is stick skills, including passing, catching and shooting the ball without dropping it.
“I think next year (the goal is) just to be more competitive with the established teams, have competitive games with the teams that have been playing longer,” Martin said. “And I really think (another goal is) just to get the kids to improve. Our biggest goal, more than win or lose, is just to see progress on a regular basis from the development standpoint.”