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Stoga 5v5 LaxFest is a success as suburban and city teams experience great instruction, competition

Tuesday, 7th October 2014

Categories Club, Girl's/Women's, Posted 10/7/14

Twenty teams and close to 150 girls in Grades 5 through 9 participated in the Stoga 5v5 Lax Fest on Sunday, October 5th, a clinic and small-sided tournament hosted by the Lady Pioneer Booster Club and the Conestoga Girls’ Lacrosse Team.

Teams from all over Greater Philadelphia participated, including groups from Upper Dublin, Wyndmoor, Pottstown, Rose Tree, Drexel Hill, West Chester, Downingtown and Berwyn.

The Stoga 5v5 LaxFest featured a 7th grade team from Thurgood Marshall Middle School in Philadelphia, shown here posing with Sara Nicholson, the team's "Host Coach" and Co-Captain of the Conestoga Girls' Lacrosse team (far right)

The Stoga 5v5 LaxFest featured a 7th grade team from Thurgood Marshall Middle School in Philadelphia, shown here posing with Sara Nicholson, the team’s “Host Coach” and Co-Captain of the Conestoga Girls’ Lacrosse team (far right)

The afternoon opened with dynamic warmups and an injury avoidance discussion led by Mike McGee and colleagues from La Maison in Stafford, the Conestoga team’s offseason training partner. Participants then enjoyed positional clinics, which included stations for the field players in attendance taught by Emma Hamm (Baldwin, Duke, U19 USA National Team) and the Conestoga Girls’ Lacrosse coaches, including Head Coach Amy Orcutt and Assistant Coaches Sam Murphy, Meghan McDugall and Jaclyn Klunder. A separate goalie clinic was conducted by Andrea Pfeiffer, former Conestoga and University of Virginia star, who was the MVP in Virginia’s NCAA championship victory in 2004.

Before the tournament portion of the event, Coach Orcutt and members of the Conestoga Girls’ Lacrosse team conducted a separate demonstration on how to play in 5v5 short-sided games and highlighted the rules and different techniques, strategies and objectives.

The girls soon took the queue and acclimated themselves to the format and flow of game, and a robust afternoon of round robin play ensued. Each team played 10-minute games in quick succession, featuring lots of touches and changes in possession. Based on testimonials, the players and coaches enjoyed the different but very exciting, participatory and fast-paced format. Members of the Conestoga girls’ team helped coach many of the participating teams, giving them a chance to interact with the younger kids and hone their own coaching and leadership skills. Several players also leveraged their youth official certifications and helped officiate.

The five 9th grade teams that competed in the event played in a championship format, earning points for victories along the way. The Lacrosse Academy (Team 1) team emerged victorious after dropping only one game from among the many close and exciting matches they faced. Members of The Lacrosse Academy (Team 1) included Christin Ealer, Amelia Kienzle, Tessa Kerin, Maddie Nikolic, Paige Turley, Julia Weiss, and Maddie Wood.

The event also featured a 7th grade team from Thurgood-Marshall Middle School in Philadelphia, something that was made possible through the efforts of the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association. The PLA, the local chapter of US Lacrosse, helped underwrite Thurgood-Marshall’s participation in the event, providing a grant to ensure that each player on the team became a new member of US Lacrosse. The Conestoga program, eager to host the squad from Thurgood-Marshall, organized a small stick donation drive to help the PLA recycle old sticks and give them new life in the hands of players in the City. The Thurgood-Marshall team’s coach, Janice Henderson, was pleased her group had an opportunity to participate in the clinics and benchmark itself against the competition, while having fun and making new friends. The Lady Pioneers Booster Club would like to thank the PLA for its support on behalf of the team from the City.

To conclude the event, Villanova Head Coach Julie Young spoke to 8th and 9th Graders and provided an Overview on “College Recruiting and Playing at the Highest Level.” Players and parents were able to ask questions and learn more about the recruiting process and the opportunities to play lacrosse in Division I and Division III. Coach Young encouraged the girls to take advantage of opportunities to visit campuses and write coaches after their freshman year to get on their “radar.” She told the girls that attending camps and clinics, including the fall short-side tournaments, was another good way to get noticed. Coach Young ultimately emphasized the importance for each girl to find a school where she could be happy, whether playing lacrosse or otherwise.

The event was staged in a fun and festive setting with shooting contests and onsite vendors. Representatives from the Positive Coaching Alliance, which the Conestoga team has also partnered with, were on site to speak with the parents in attendance. The Lady Pioneers Booster Club, Coach Orcutt and the entire Conestoga Girls Lacrosse program would like to thank all the players, coaches, guest clinicians, parents and volunteers for making the inaugural Stoga 5v5 LaxFest such a special and memorable day.


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