By Matt Nadel
WEST ORANGE – The four major professional sports in the United States are football, baseball, basketball and hockey, but there is one sport that is particularly on the rise. Ever since fans began desiring more fast-paced play from their favorite sports, lacrosse has become very popular in American high schools.
“In lacrosse, things are constantly happening and changing,” Golda Och Academy’s Director of Athletics, Janet Herman, said. “Players have to be constantly on the lookout for plays and opportunities to develop.”
With this philosophy in mind, Herman and the current GOA senior class have come together to create the first-ever girls’ lacrosse team in the West Orange school’s 50-year history.
The girls’ lacrosse team was first a club in the spring of 2015, when more than 20 sophomores and freshmen signed up. Seniors could not sign up because the club became a team while they were on their semester abroad in Israel. However, the girls who did join the team have made some very strong bonds.
“We’ve made a lot of new friends,” sophomore attacker Carly Paternite said. “It’s been a very fun ride.”
The team’s coach for this season is Kyle McCourt, who has been with the team for the past two years. A lacrosse coach since 2009, McCourt is poised for an exciting season.
“As a team we came to an agreement that we’d like to see two things by the end of the first season as a program: improvement and fun,” McCourt said. “We want to look back and see if we had a positive experience at the end of the season.”
“Together, everyone achieves more,” freshman defender Dena Feldman said, when asked about the team’s core values. “We may not do the best, but we’ll have fun trying.”
Golda Och has six games on the schedule and although it is not a long season, the players value the team experience.
“[Our lacrosse team] is my whole life,” junior defender Mikayla Talmud said, which just goes to show the dedication that each player puts into this team.
Although fun and dedication are important, improving enough to win games is, of course, the ultimate goal.
“They need to find a way to push through adversity,” McCourt said, “and I do feel that there is a core group of girls who are capable of doing that.
“They just need to step up and be confident so that the rest of the team can be on board as well.”
It is a tall task to tackle, but no matter what happens, this team will be fun to watch.