BARRINGTON – Lacrosse is a sport more popular on the East Coast, and while it’s growing elsewhere, it isn’t yet common throughout the Midwest.
Barrington is one of the towns where you’ll see lacrosse and, according to those involved with high school lacrosse team, this upcoming season promises to be a successful one.
Despite having Barrington High School in the name, lacrosse isn’t a school-sponsored sport such as football or basketball. It is considered by the Illinois High School Association as an “emerging sport.” In Barrington’s case, the school provides the name and some of the facilities, but both the boys and girls teams are run by parents and students.
Charlie Del Vecchio is the president of the parent board for the girls. With three daughters, he has been a part of the organization for nearly 10 years. He said it is up to the parents to pay salaries, set up fields, and set schedules.
This year in girls’ lacrosse, Del Vecchio says there is a lot to look forward to.
“There are a lot of new teams who have picked up the sport in the past several years,” he said. “It’s great because it helps develop the sport in Illinois.”
There are 55 girls high school lacrosse teams in Illinois. Last year, Barrington finished 11-11 on the season and 14th in the state. It also won its conference.
“Last year, there were 14 seniors. We had great expectations,” Del Vecchio said. “They played really well, but we lost several one-goal games to really tough competition. We didn’t do as well as we thought we would.
“This year, the experience level is the highest we’ve ever seen, at least in the 10 years I’ve been involved.”
Suzanne Rich, the coach of the girls varsity team, agreed it will be an exciting year.
“We’re pretty excited about having a new team. I only have nine returning players,” Rich said.
Of the 68 girls on three teams, many of them have been playing for club teams during the offseason. Four of the senior girls, including Lauren Captain, Allison Doran, Jenna Feldman and Del Vecchio’s daughter Maggie, have been on the varsity team since they were sophomores.
“The bottom line is the skill level of these kids is much higher than we’ve seen before,” Del Vecchio said.
Rich said seeing these girls play is another part of the reason that she’s looking forward to this season.
“I think that’s what I’m most excited about is now seeing these four players that have been with me since they were sophomores and seeing how they can really lead the team,” Rich said.
Captain, a midfielder, said the girls on the team are in great shape.
“Already I see a change in the stick skills we have,” Captain said. “I don’t think we’ll be sloppy this year.”
She added that this year is no different from most years in the team’s desire to beat Lake Zurich’s team.
“This year we have a lot of younger players, which isn’t a problem, but they might not know the competition with them,” she said, adding that many team members know girls on the Lake Zurich team and feel they have to beat them.
Rich said while the girls focus on Lake Zurich because they’re playing against their friends, the coaches focus on beating Palatine because they are in the same conference.
Their first order of business is just getting onto a field. Their first two games against St. Viator and Carmel were canceled due to weather.
“At this point, we just have to get out there and play,” Rich said. “We’re very antsy to get going and get outside. We’re hoping Mother Nature is on our side.”
They expected to play their first game April 3 against Lyons Township.