By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/20/08
It was back in 2000 when Lorraine Beers took a tremendous risk and decided to take a shot at coaching high school lacrosse at Archbishop Carroll.
“I was coaching with the Rose Tree Optimist club team and I saw Carroll needed a lax coach,” said Beers. “I had just started a job in the business office at Agnes Irwin, and it was on kind of a whim that I even FAXed over my resume.
“I had no idea what I was doing when I started, other than I understood lacrosse.”
Eight years, the woman who claims “I had no idea what I was doing,” has led the Patriots to a streak that could compare with any scholastic dynasty in the nation.
In 2000, during Beers’ first season at Carroll, the Pats fell to St. Hubert in the Catholic League title game. Since then, Carroll has won 100 straight league games – including the regular season and playoffs – and claimed seven straight league crowns.
The 100th win came Wednesday against Littler Flower, a 17-4 rout that touched off a healthy celebration and many calls and e-mails from former players and supporters.
After the game, the team’s seniors threw their beloved coach a small surprise party, with flowers, signs, balloons, cupcakes and pizza.
“It was very nice,” said Beers, whose team is 5-2 overall and ranked sixth by Phillylacrosse.com. “And what was really nice is that some alumni parents were there, and I got so many e-mails from people.
“You have to have the horses, and we have the kids here. We have good parents and they feed off each other. Everybody gets excited about lacrosse.”
The story behind Carroll’s success is amazing. The Pats have never had a true feeder program and typically teams from the Catholic League have a tough time competing with the powers from the Central League or the Main Line private schools.
But Beers, a graduate of Haverford High who did not play lacrosse until attending Drexel University in the 1970s, has been able to build a powerhouse mostly with players who never played until ninth grade. Her players and followers of girls’ and women’s lacrosse consider her one of the most respected coaches in the Philadelphia area.
Beers likes to tell the story of her first great talent in 2000, Paige Andrews, who personally took it upon herself to become the school’s first Division I recruit and blazed the path for many to follow.
“Paige was a maniac,” said Beers, known for her blunt but guiding approach. “She wanted to go to college and play Division I lacrosse. She had great stick skills and she was self-taught.
“She slept with her stick and was constantly doing left hand and right hand drills. She had friends on the field hockey team, Jen DePetris, Kristen Dwyer, Jen Rauscher and a few others and her desire to play lacrosse in college was her whole life.
“This became infectious. You couldn’t help but get excited and get on board. We’d go to Princeton and Maryland to see college lacrosse games. Our girls were athletes and they were loaded with talent.”
Andrews, a member of the first two championship teams, played at Georgetown. DePetris played at Monmouth, Dwyer played at Lafayette and Rauscher played at La Salle. Since then, there has been a large group of major Division I players, including current Notre Dame senior and Tewaarton nominee Caitlin McKinney, who actually graduated from Germantown Academy but has often credited Beers for her development.
Great Valley continues to roll
Emily Ellisen collected five goals and four assists and Haley Sheehan added four goals and two assists as visiting Great Valley routed Downingtown East, 14-4, Saturday in a Ches-Mont League cross-over game.
Kim Wenger added three goals for the Patriots (8-1), ranked third by Phillylacrosse.com. Stephanie Berger posted nine saves. Kat Saska scored two goals for the ninth-ranked Cougars (9-2).
Great Valley hosts top-ranked Radnor Wednesday.
Abington stays perfect, to face unbeaten Cardinals
Rachel Dirksen scored six goals and Lisa O’Donnell added four as undefeated Abington belted host Cheltenham, 18-7, Saturday. The Ghosts (10-0), ranked fifth by Phillylacrosse.com, travel to face 10-0 Upper Dublin today.
Upper Dublin is coached by former Abington coach Dee Cross, a member of the National Lacrosse and Pennsylvania Lacrosse Halls of Fame.
Merion Mercy keeps winning
Kimmy Keating had two goals and four assists to lead Merion Mercy to a 14-13 triumph over Villa Joseph Marie Thursday in a key Catholic Academies League game. Merion Mercy, the defending league champion, is 7-1 overall and has won five straight league games since falling to Villa Maria, 15-12, on April 1. The two teams meet again Wednesday at Merion Mercy.
Tags: Archbishop Carroll