High School Lacrosse the way it ought to be…

Posted: April 22, 2012 in HRLax
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Tabb Tigers Facebook Page

On Saturday the Atlee Raiders of Richmond traveled to Williamsburg to meet the Tabb Tigers at the Warhill Sports Complex. Anyone following high school lacrosse in our area would know that this was a big game for a lot of reasons.

  • The Tabb Tigers and the Atlee Raiders represent their respective high schools by voluntarily following VHSL rules. Those rules include geographic restrictions, when teams can start practice, and limiting their game schedules to 14 games excluding post season play. Both teams are members of their respective chapters of US Lacrosse and play NFHS rules (National Federation of State High School Association).
  • Both teams marched onto the field undefeated in their respective conferences and Tabb had only one loss to Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach.  The Tabb Tigers also played Nansemond Suffolk Academy earlier this season winning 9-8. The decision for high school club teams to play private schools is an excellent way to build confidence with your team since private schools generally have very good teams and winning against them is a big boost for the program. Atlee has not played any private school programs this year although it is possible that they may revise their schedule and choose to play one of the area’s private schools.
  • The Atlee team also sports C-Squad stickers on their helmets in support of Cole Sydnor. Cole was a member of last year’s Virginia High School Club Lacrosse Championship Team and was tragically injured in a swimming accident in August last year and returned to Atlee in December. Click here to see Cole’s Video  Cole has inspired not only the Raiders but everyone he meets with his incredible drive, desire, and attitude.

When teams like Tabb and Atlee meet on the field what results is that you have two highly competitive teams playing for their high school. This is as close as it gets to being an official high school sports team just like football, basketball, baseball, soccer, field hockey, volleyball, tennis, swimming, golf, and track. The biggest difference is that lacrosse is growing faster than any of the high school sports but because of school budgets, Title 9, and in some cases politics prevent lacrosse from being an official team sport at the high school.

What teams like Atlee, Tabb, and what many others in our area and the state have done is organized club teams that are funded independently who play for the school. Many schools are highly supportive of this type of arrangement and often offer resources to the club team. When Atlee arrived in Williamsburg last night they arrived on a public school bus although their club may have reimbursed the school for the cost.  In the case of Atlee; the principal, faculty, students, parents, and the athletic department are highly supportive of the lacrosse team and provide resources for the team which enables the team to receive most of the same benefits as the other school teams. According to the school website each player on the Atlee Raiders is required to pay a $183 participation fee and show their US Lacrosse Membership card. USL membership is $35 and includes supplemental insurance.  Unfortunately, the Tabb High School website does not mention lacrosse despite the fact that they have excellent lacrosse programs for both girls and boys which are totally funded outside of the school.

And now for the game..

This game was an absolute showdown of two of the best high school club teams in the state. The play on the field was intense with multiple lead changes ultimately ending with Tabb scoring the last goal in overtime to win 9-8. The goal was scored after Atlee gave up possession of the ball on their side of the field as a result of an official’s call. The call on the field was that after Atlee had reversed the ball over the midfield line they had 10 seconds to put the ball in the box and keep it there, ultimately a player stepped out of the box and the ball was awarded to Tabb.  In checking with two officials and the US Lacrosse Rule Book it appears that was  a correct call although I realize that many questioned the call. There have been suggestions made that the officials should have directed the player before making the call but it is also the responsibility of the players and coaches to know the rules. I empathize with those parents over a close loss that seemingly came as a result of an official’s call. We have been there many times in our lacrosse life and it always stings when we lose and feels like honey when we win. Whenever we have ended a game like that I always remind everyone that the officials didn’t put us in the position to lose, we did. Several parents also questioned repeated personal fouls by one player and according to the rules, that player would have fouled out if he had accumulated five minutes of personal penalties. Apparently, he did not and was eligible to remain in the game. Anyone who would like to learn more about the rules of the game or purchase a copy of 2012 Boys Lacrosse Rule Book can click here: 

This was a very physical game and at least one player left the game after a big hit in the crease. The player returned to the game and many close to the field questioned whether he should have been allowed to return.  Concussions can be deadly serious and I would encourage everyone to take a look at Heads Up Concussion Facts for Athletes.

Looking forward… 

These teams will most likely meet again at the 2nd Annual Virginia High School Club Lacrosse Championship on June 2nd & 3rd and this will be one of the most important events for High School Club Lacrosse of the year. The first Championship was an unqualified success. The 2011 Boys champion, the Atlee High School Lacrosse Club received official accolades at their school, their community and their school board in the same manner as a VHSL champion.  The 2011 Girls winner, Midlothian, received similar recognition. Club coaches and organizers all agreed that meeting their counterparts in other regions was an added bonus. Last year Atlee took the championship and Tabb was knocked out by Cave Spring in a triple overtime game.  This event will have (8) boys teams (8) girls teams and is designed to give our students/athletes the same level of recognition and competitive play that students in other sports receive throughout the year. For supporters/fans/players/coaches of the game for club team lacrosse this is a big deal, so big that summer travel teams in Richmond have now altered their schedules to make sure that the players will be there to compete.

In other news..

After the Atlee/Tabb game we drove over to see the Williamsburg “Blue Warriors” hosting the West End Warriors from Richmond. The boys varsity game started at 7:00 and was halted at 8:00 and called because of darkness. Apparently lights were on the soccer field and not the lacrosse field. The score of the game was 15-1 with little more than a half a game being played. We certainly have sympathy for all of the players and parents who invested time and money to attend the shortened game. Ironically, all of the fields at the Warhill Sports Complex were open, and the “blue warriors” normally play their home games at Warhill Sports Complex and list it as their home field.  The field they normally play on was cleared by 7:00 pm when the Tabb/Atlee game concluded and one might suspect that they moved to avoid being scouted by the Atlee team whom they will meet at home on Friday, April 27th at 7:00 pm.

The West End Warriors are a recreational club that gives students who do not have an opportunity to play a team to play on. The West End Club also offers an opportunity for those students that have limited experience to learn the game before joining their respective high school teams. The West End Warriors have a $225 participation fee and require all their players to be members of US Lacrosse. The “blue warriors” participation fee is $525 and they do not require US Lacrosse Membership and for those of you that don’t know the “blue warriors”  they do not represent any high school in Williamsburg they are a self-proclaimed elite/select team with players from Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Walsingham Academy, and Williamsburg. They are not affiliated with any US Lacrosse chapter and unfortunately Laxpower lists them and ranks them with other club teams in the state that are not select teams in the Non-VHSL Clubs category, probably because  there are no elite/select categories on Laxpower. In other words, Laxpower is not a definitive source for lacrosse, they exist to share statistics that ultimately brings eyeballs to their site to sell websites, advertising and lacrosse related products.

Final thoughts…

At the start of this season we fielded a boys high school lacrosse team representing York High School in York County. The team competes with other teams in the Hampton Roads Chapter of US Lacrosse as a JV team. Yesterday we brought members of our team to watch the Atlee/Tabb game because we wanted them to see and feel the excitement of a game of that magnitude. I personally wanted them to see and experience that game so they can gain perspective on what it takes to compete at that level. The York High School Boys Lacrosse Team is currently 4-3-1 with two overtime victories and with only two games left this year have a great chance to end the year with a winning record. With only two seniors (both of which are first year players) on the team, 60% have played two years or less,  and the most experienced players are Freshman that’s a pretty big deal. They are proving everyday that if we all work together we can “Grow the Game”, now we have to take their example and build a high school team in Williamsburg.

York Lacrosse Club Falcons

Robby Hamel '12, Josh Miller '12

We welcome your comments and thank you for your interest.

Mark Moreno

VP, York Lacrosse Club

Bring the Battle to your Bag!

  1. Thanks for great commentary on our game Saturday and our program at Atlee. For those of us who love this game and want to see it continue to grow, information about the sport is vital to helping us all understand the game and see the future potential. Good luck to your start up York Lacrosse team. How wonderful to hear that they will perhaps have a winning season in their first year! Maybe we will run across them in the State tournament one day soon.

    • Hi Cheryl,
      Thank you for your wonderful comments. We are committed to building a high school lacrosse team in Williamsburg and are hopeful that our organization can emulate the Atlee Raiders. As for our York boys, they won another game last night. We actually had two first year players score goals and the team will be headed to our regional playoffs. We are not ready for the State Tournament yet but it would be an honor to meet the Raiders on the field. Best wishes to all the Raiders!

  2. greg barnard says:

    Why the negativity towards Williamsburg Warriors ? Coaches Hoffmeister and Hill are among the best coaches in the state, and teach their players the game the way it’s supposed to be played. Perhaps you would be better off promoting your program on this website , and stop trying to knock people for making choices in what I believe is a free country. Williamsburg plays a full schedule every year, so i guess there are teams that like and respect them, including mine. I coach a VHSL compliant high school varsity club lacrosse team and we love to play the Williamsburg Warriors. (home and away every year)

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