By Frank Foreman
On the heels of the Meadville boys lacrosse team’s accreditation by the Crawford Central School Board in late July, the Conneaut girls lacrosse team is hopeful of a similar fate as the program awaits word from the school board on whether the group can take the next step forward.
The earliest accreditation could happen is Sept. 11 at the next Conneaut School Board meeting.
The Conneaut boys lacrosse team also hopes to receive accreditation, however a lack of players has the focus strictly on the girls team for now.
The Conneaut girls lacrosse team, led by head coach Mariah Shannon, had 18 members on the squad last season for the spring sport, a number that Shannon expects to rise if the program gets accredited.
“This has been our goal from the beginning. We started this team two years ago, and girls are getting more and more interested each year,” Shannon said. “Girls are asking about playing, and it opens up another sport for girls who don’t make other teams but still want to play a team sport.”
Currently, the Conneaut girls lacrosse team must travel to a school that is non-sanctioned by the PIAA to play its games, an issue that limited the team to just three games this past spring.
Under PIAA rules, sanctioned teams are not permitted to play against non-sanctioned teams, taking three Erie County teams out of the equation as opponents.
“It would really help the program to be able to play sanctioned teams in Erie, Butler and Pittsburgh,” Shannon said. “It would really cut down on the travel.”
That travel, including out of state, has deterred girls from playing in the past, giving more reason to expect the number of girls interested to rise.
“I hope we, along with the boys, can become sanctioned,” Shannon said. “Any time we can get kids off the street and doing something fun, it’s a good thing.”
Ideally, a quick decision in favor of the team would give ample time to spread the word within the school. Shannon hopes that a number in the 40s and 50s would be an obtainable number of members in the program.
“If I could do a junior varsity and a varsity, that would be a great thing,” Shannon said. “They would all get to play a lot, and that’s a great thing.”
Developing interest in the sport is the focus for Shannon, and the first missing piece is accreditation from the board.
“It’s our goal. It’s a fun game,” Shannon said.