The Indian River High School boys lacrosse program is entering its third year.
Freshman Kealey Allison has always gotten excited for the day of games to cheer on the boys team.
“I’m so happy,” Allison said. “Today in school, not today, (but) the boys have a team and they’ve always been talking about it, and we always talk about their gamedays and we get excited about it.”
But Monday was different.
It was her gameday.
Allison and the other 20 or so members of the first IR girls lacrosse team took the field at Salisbury School, rolling to a 15-4 win that Allison didn’t have the words to describe.
“Since I play lacrosse games a lot, like all the time, it was kind of just another game,” Allison said. “Once I looked at my phone after the game, and I saw all these Twitter notifications and was like, ‘Whoa, I didn’t really realize that it was the first-ever Indian River girls goal.’ “
It took Allison just moments after the draw to use her speed down the field to record the program’s first goal. It was a junior varsity game, but important nonetheless.
Kealey’s sister Maggie, a senior who signed her national letter of intent to play at Towson University next year, said it was the first time she’s ever played with her younger sister.
“To be on the field with her was really cool,” Maggie said. “People always said she’s really good and stuff and I’m like, ‘Yeah, she’s my sister, whatever.’ But now I’m like, she’s good. She’s going to run this team.”
Head coach Kara Voss had a feeling this would be the outcome of the game with the experienced players she has on the roster. At least eight have played some type of club or recreation team prior to this year.
Kealey had four goals, but junior Emiley Shuey led the team with five and Lexi Hayden had four goals.
“I was really excited,” Shuey said, “but after not playing for the past year and then last year coming out to a club team that only had two or three girls, I was like, ‘I wonder what’s going to come this year,’ but when I saw the numbers we had I was really excited.”
Shuey and Kealey will most likely lead the Indians when they embark on their first varsity season next year. The only two seniors are Maggie and Taylor Billinger.
Billinger has never played before, but said she really enjoys the pace of the game.
After watching film, she didn’t think lacrosse was anything special. But being on the field Monday, Billinger’s eyes lit up with excitement.
“I liked the pace of the game,” she said. “I like being able to do the running and be quick and fast, but it’s a lot of skills to have to take up with it.”
It wasn’t all perfect for the Indians. They started the second half by winning the draw and running the wrong way, but that’s the entertaining mix of brand new and seasoned lacrosse players on the team.
“I like teaching the aspects of the game and teaching all of the aspects of the game and all of the individual skills,” Voss said. “It’s really fun to watch someone who’s never picked up a stick before, never played, to see how they improve. I really enjoy that.”
Voss has prior coaching experience, but is receiving a great deal of help from her assistant, Anne McBride, and the experienced players.
Maggie has tried to learn the way to teach someone without being too bossy.
“It’s kinda hard to find the balance of being a player and trying to help them at the same time and not be bossy in a way,” she said. “It’s funny, though, the one time I was like, ‘cut across!’ And they all listen. They do exactly what you tell them.”
With the meshing of coach and player progression, Indian River should develop as they play other JV teams in the area like Parkside, Sussex Tech and Stephen Decatur.
Voss will be leaning on those experienced players to help guide the future of the program.
“We’ve watched film,” Voss said. “We’ve watched a couple college games on rain days, but it’s a completely different thing, seeing it in person. … Having that person to watch the whole game, like, ‘I’m going to do everything that Maggie does or I’m going to do everything that Kealey does,’ it really helps the girls that haven’t played before.”
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