Latrobe girls lacrosse grows from start-up program to section contender in 3 seasons
TribLIVE Sports Videos
It was only a few years ago that Alexa Stynchula and Katie Stallings were fledgling lacrosse players doing their best to pick up the nuances of the game as they made the leap from never playing organized lacrosse to competing at the high school level.
Consider the crash course passed with flying colors.
The Wildcats have gone from a sub-.500 team to a threat to any team in the span of three seasons. They improved from 5-11 in 2012 to 10-6 in 2013 and this season they stand at 8-2 with six matches to go.
“We used to just pretty much go out to maybe win,” Stynchula said. “Now we have a set goal of wanting to win. That was never a goal before.”
There was no youth program at the time, so the girls joined the high school team and learned on the fly. As their knowledge and skill accumulated, so did their ambition.
“We all continued to grow as a team,” said Stallings, a midfielder who will play at St. Vincent. “It went from ‘We want to win this game' to ‘We want to win our section.' ”
The seventh-highest scoring team in the WPIAL according to www.laxpower.com, Latrobe, which returned eight starters from last season, uses a patient and balanced attack to average 13.20 goals per game.
Coach Kaytie Russo said one of her team's attributes she is most proud of is that despite the lack of a superstar scorer, the team has found the net 131 times. Ten players have contributed to the team's 50 assists.
“It's really a combined effort,” said Russo, who played four years at Latrobe before graduating in 2007 and moving on to compete at St. Vincent. “Our main philosophy is to play our game. Once we get the ball on offense, we're not in any rush to score until the opportunity's there.”
What makes those numbers more impressive is that the Wildcats compete in Division II, Section 1, which features two of the top five scoring teams — Ellis School (No. 1 with 15.14 goals per game) and Hempfield (No. 5 with 13.75 goals per game).
The Wildcats defeated Ellis School on April 8 but suffered their only section loss to undefeated section leader Hempfield on April 15. They rematch both in early May.
With a solid foundation built, the Wildcats are looking to establish a legacy.
Seniors like Stynchula and Stallings have a section championship in their crosshairs this year. Just as important is keeping the winning tradition alive, which in turn will help the sport grow.
“It's a good feeling, winning,” Stynchula said. “Every year that we move on, Latrobe lacrosse gets better.”
Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hit sends Penguins’ Letang to hospital
- Starkey: Next frontier for Steelers offense
- Man rescued from sinkhole in McKeesport
- Downie’s goal, fight spark Penguins to win over Coyotes
- If you get this letter from the IRS, it’s legitimate
- Veteran designation on Pennsylvania driver’s licenses loosely audited
- Riverhounds win 1st season opener since 2008
- Pitt’s Amara offers Vision of hope
- Pirates notebook: Polanco’s power outburst a matter of timing
- Lights go out for Earth Hour 2015
- Corporate missteps hurt reputations, profits, sometimes in long run