Lax’s fresh faces
The first time nerves of a tryout can either make or break an athlete, but typically those tryouts result in a player earning a spot on the junior varsity level. However, the tryouts for girls lacrosse ended with six players new to the AHS program finding themselves placed on the varsity team.
While it may be expected that freshman who have played before high school will become varsity players, and three freshmen found this to be true this season, what is less conventional is when upperclassmen tryout without experience and earn that same spot.
“The tryout process was really nerve racking, but I had worked really hard before tryouts and gone to green days, so I felt familiar with the people and drills,” junior Lizzie Manthos said.
Freshmen Sara Deible, Janan Gokturk and Ashley Britton, with juniors Melanie Bennett and Manthos, along with senior Shannon Casey earned a spot on the varsity team and while their grades may vary, they all share the commonality of this being their first season playing AHS lacrosse.
“The tryout process was a little stressful since I didn’t really know what was going on, but I thought playing was really fun,” Casey said. “Playing with more experienced girls really helped me learn the game a lot faster and they always give me tips on what to do on the field.”
Casey is no stranger to making varsity during her first tryouts as she had previously made varsity softball as a freshmen, but decided not to continue after her sophomore year. Manthos and Bennett both played soccer during their freshmen and sophomore years on the junior varsity level.
Deciding not to play soccer was definitely a really difficult choice. I played most of my life so it was hard to give up, but I was never an amazing player,” Manthos said. “So when I started to pick up lacrosse really fast, I felt like I could do better there.”
Manthos was unsure of whether or not trying out for lacrosse was what she really wanted to do, but knew that if she wanted to be prepared, then she would need to do some work during the off season. Both Bennett and Manthos both played with many AHS players on Triple Edge, an indoor league, during the winter and also went to the green days that took place during the three weeks prior to the season.
“I was just playing around with a couple of the girls who played [lacrosse] and thought it was really fun,” Manthos said. “After awhile I thought it would be fun to try something new so I joined the winter league and loved it.”
Despite Manthos not playing soccer at AHS, she still plays for a club team outside of school.
“It doesn’t feel like I really gave [soccer] up,” Manthos said.
Opening up to a new sport while having to compete with more experienced players could potentially be daunting, but with a large group of new players the pressure did not seem to faze Manthos, Bennett nor Casey.
“I’m not really intimidated playing with the more experienced players, it motivates me to practice harder to keep up with them. I also learn a lot from them since they have a better understanding of the game and are happy to help,” Manthos said. “But, playing with the other newcomers definitely made it less scary knowing that I wasn’t the one who was trying out for the first time.”
“Having so many other new girls at tryouts helped because we were all able to learn together,” Casey said.
The divide between old and young and new and returning players does not seem to affect the team.
“I love everyone on the team,” Deible said. “They’re so nice and supportive. I’m looking forward to improving as a team.”