By Lisa Byers
February 11, 2013 7:00 a.m. MEADVILLE —
When Eric McGuirk moved to the area 20-plus years ago, one of his greatest hopes was to see the game of lacrosse come to the area as well.
It took some time, but last season, McGuirk finally got his wish and overall it proved to be quite a success. But this year, McGuirk is hoping for even more. And the year after that? Even more.
“What I would like to see is PIAA teams at both (Conneaut Area Senior High) and (Meadville Area Senior High) and maybe PENNCREST in at least three to five years,” McGuirk said.
First thing is first, of course. Continuing growth for the Meadville Lacrosse Club.
Sign-ups for the 2013 season are already underway and McGuirk said the club should be able to have one full varsity and one full middle school boys team. The club is, though, seeking many more.
The Meadville Lacrosse Club is open to boys and girls in fifth through 12th grade.
“My ultimate goal would be to see Little League lacrosse.”
In its inaugural season, the varsity and middle school boys teams fielded rosters of about 18 players each. The high school boys competed in two games. In their first-ever contest, Meadville fell to Kiski Prep, 5-3. McGuirk said the club was trailing by just one with just over a minute to play.
One week later, Meadville fell to Aquinas Academy, 10-0.
“We learned an awful lot,” McGuirk said.
McGuirk said the program already has 13 high school boys games and at least four high school girls games scheduled for this season, which begins March 4. This year, the club will host four home games. That home opener is scheduled for March 26 at a site to be determined.
The club is currently scheduled to practice and play at Eldred Glen and Sunbeam Field and is working with Conneaut School District to use the Conneaut Lake Middle School as well. McGuirk said he is still awaiting approval from the district.
“It’s brand new here,” McGuirk said of the sport. “Some of the kids really don’t understand what it is, but the kids who have been playing really seem to like it.”
McGuirk said he and the coaching staff are willing to train anyone who is interested in playing.
“They just need to come learn,” he said. “We have loaner equipment for both boys and girls.”
Meadville received that equipment through grants it received through the U.S. Lacrosse First Stick Grant. The boys and girls teams were both given 25 sets of equipment through the grant and McGuirk and Mariah Shannon, the girls coach, got to attend the U.S. Lacrosse conference in Philadelphia where they received Level 1 coaches training.
The cost to play is $150 and covers referees fees and help toward purchasing two more goals. McGuirk said that registration fee is close to $300 elsewhere.
Forms may be downloaded at meadvillelacrosse.org.
The club’s second registration/parent meeting is Tuesday at the Career and Technical Center at 7 p.m.
“When we went to Kiski, the coach there said, ‘This is right where I was four years ago,’” McGuirk said. “He had 60 some players last year. Ideally, I want to go PIAA and then still have a county travel team. We’ll see where it goes.”