By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/7/11
Ahh… the first day of high school lacrosse practice – it’s definitely a special time of the year.
No matter what level you coach, play, officiate or follow, the first day of the season is one filled with anticipation, excitement and expectation. Having been a middle school girls’ coach for 10 years, I recall the feeling clearly.
You begin repeating your first speech to the players in the car that morning. You know you need to be strict and firm, but also motivating and upbeat.
Today, indeed, marks the first day of practice for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) season. The ground is still cold and wet, but the snow is almost gone and the season has arrived!
In Philadelphia, everyone is talking about who is No. 1 in the high school scene. For the boys, Haverford School is one of the most talked-about teams in Philly history – with 12 Division I senior recruits and ranked No. 1 atop every pre-season national and regional poll.
Then there is the debate on who will win the PIAA championship. The first two PIAA champions, La Salle (2009) and Conestoga (2010), are the two pre-season favorites in most people’s minds. But several others such as St. Joseph’s Prep, Garnet Valley, Radnor and District 3’s Manheim Township can not be counted out.
For the girls, the field appears wide open. Two-time defending PIAA champion Radnor graduated nearly its entire team and lost a legendary coach in Phyllis Kilgour. But the Red Raiders are one of a bunch of Central Leagues teams – including 2010 PIAA runner-up Springfield-Delco, 2009 runner-up Strath Haven and Conestoga – that could be a No. 1 team.
Also, there is 10-time defending Catholic League champion Archbishop Carroll and the Ches-Mont League’s Downingtown East to consider as state contenders. In the Inter-Ac League, defending champ Episcopal Academy and Academy of Notre Dame are also powers.
So, best of luck to the players, coaches, officials and umpires (I never forget them since I was a PIAA ump myself and Philly’s are the best)!
So, who do you think is No. 1? Go ahead and state your case.