Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/9/09
Phillylacrosse.com has joined forces with six major Pennsylvania newspapers to create the first state-wide rankings for scholastic boys’ and girls’ lacrosse.
The Pennsylvania Lacrosse Media Rankings will debut next week and have input from Phillylacrosse.comand the following newspapers: the Philadelphia Inquirer, Delaware County Daily Times, Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, Allentown Morning Call, Harrisburg Patriot-News and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Lacrosse Media Rankings were developed to meet the tremendous growth and interest in lacrosse throughout the state, according to Phillylacrosse.com Editor Chris Goldberg.
“These rankings were created because of the remarkable boom in lacrosse throughout Pennsylvania,” said Goldberg. “It used to be just a sport for the schools on the Philadelphia Main Line and the Central League. Now, it is spreading into every region.
“According to all statistics, lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the country. We see the same growth here in Pennsylvania.”
Goldberg noted that the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) is sanctioning boys’ lacrosse for the first time. The PIAA decided to run a state tournament this year for boys and girls; it previously had no tournament for girls. There was a state boys’ tournament formerly run by three regional lacrosse associations.
“Talking to players and coaches, as well as lacrosse followers, I’ve noticed an incredible excitement building for the first PIAA tournament,” Goldberg said. “Here in District 1, the girls’ champion was considered a mythical champion in the past.
“Now, with the inclusion of all regions, especially District 12 with the Catholic League, a clear champion can be crowned. On the boys’ side, the new district format is bringing added excitement around the state.”
The only major league that is not a part of the PIAA is the Inter-Ac League, which has fielded some of the top boys’ and girls’ teams in the state since lacrosse began in Pennsylvania. Therefore, the Lacrosse Media Rankings will include one set of rankings for PIAA teams and another for all teams in the state.
“We felt that the Inter-Ac teams have set such a high standard for lacrosse that it would be impossible not to recognize these schools,” Goldberg said. “Although these teams will not be eligible for PIAA play, they will be facing off against top PIAA teams.”
The growth in lacrosse has also created a major buzz in the central part of the state, according to Lancaster Intelligencer Journal lacrosse beat writer Matthew Blymier.
“The Central Pennsylvania region is not only growing in terms of size (of teams), it is getting more competitive,” Blymier said. “It’s not up to the level of the Eastern side of the state, but as these teams get more experience it will become a region to reckon with state-wide.”
Last year Central Region champion Manheim Township gave Eastern region champ La Salle all it could handle before bowing 7-5 in the state final, formerly called the Keystone Cup contest. La Salle finished the season ranked No. 1 by Lacrosse Magazine and this year comes into the campaign as the No. 2 team in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse rankings.
“Look at Township,” Blymier said. “It says a lot for a public school that’s only had lacrosse eight or nine years to go head-to-head against the top team in the state and make a game of it. No one expected that it would be a two-goal game.”
Blymier said boys’ and girls’ lacrosse will continue to grow under the PIAA.
“It makes it more special to be able to have a PIAA championship game and it means more to have that PIAA tag on it,” he said. “It gives it more credibility in the long run.
“It will only help the sport grow and get more press. This has created more interest not only in Central PA, but in the entire state.”