By Parijat Jha
Year after year, over 70 high school lacrosse teams compete for one goal: the state championship. No matter what region or division, the chances of winning are slim. And winning is, after all, what generally defines a team.
With five straight state championships, from the 2004-2008 seasons, the UAHS boys lacrosse team went into the championship game last year against Worthington Kilbourne High School with confidence and victory on their minds. However, as the final seconds wound down and the time expired, the Bears saw their winning streak come to an end.
Head Coach Ted Wolford said the team worked hard, despite the disappointing finish.
“It is always hard to lose a close ball game. I was very proud of how hard our guys worked,” Wolford said. “They had a lot of pressure on them, and still our guys stayed focused and worked to the very end, and just missed the opportunity to tie things up.”
Similarly, the girls lacrosse team, led by coach Kim Rocheleau, ended last year with a 7-6 championship loss against rival Sycamore High School.
“The loss last year was a tough, yet winnable game. We have used such a close loss as motivation since then,” Rocheleau said.
Both teams have won many state championships in the past and are highly respected in the Midwest. Seniors, like midfielder Spence Parsons, have been part of many top tier squads and have helped continue their programs’ success. Since their losses, the two teams have worked hard to become better teams. Both participate in summer lacrosse camps, fall ball, and are always in the weight room.
Parsons said the loss from last year has motivated the team to work harder this year.
“Last season was a situation we hadn’t been in before. It was a winnable game and we should have won, but it was a good learning experience,” Parsons said. “This year we want to get back to that level of play except maintain our work ethic.”
Senior Kevyn Harer said she thinks the team can be one of the best in the state this year.
“Last year, we often let up after getting an early lead. Using that as a learning experience, we now know that we have to continuously keep up our guard and stay focused,” Harer said.
As spring neared, both teams scheduled trips to prepare for the 2010 season. While the boys headed to Baltimore, Md to face some top squads, the girls went to Louisville, Ky for their games.
In Louisville, the girls team saw success as they comfortably won all of their games against some mediocre competition, Rocheleau said.
Junior Cam Williams went on the boys trip and said the team finished with a 3-1 record against some of the more superior opponents in the region. Their loss came with two-year starting attackman Luke Treece sitting on the sideline for much of the game. Still, according to Williams, the team gained a lot from the trip and left with hope for the regular season.
“The trip showed us exactly where our talent level was, and how good we are,” Williams said. “It is also a good team-bonding experience and helps us mentally prepare for the upcoming season.”
Despite last year’s let downs, both teams still have high expectations for this year. According to junior Adriane Ghidotti, who has been a member of the varsity team since her freshman year, the team is optimistic due to the 12 seniors on the team.
“We have lots of talent this year, and I think our team can go far into the state championship. We like how high the expectations are in UA because we use them as motivation to do better in the future,” Ghidotti said. “I think if this year we make it to state, we won’t make the same mistakes and will win the game.”
The boys team has set even higher standards for themselves, even after seeing their winning streak end. Their three goals are to win state, the Midwest, and if possible go undefeated, Williams said.
Parsons said he has confidence the team will persevere.
“We have great talent level in Arlington, but that is not the problem,” Parsons said. “If we go hard every second of every practice and every game we are almost unbeatable, and that is why this year we are going to win- by always playing to our potential.”