Girls lacrosse hopes to have successful season with new coaches

The+girls+lacrosse+team+wins+against+Irondale+in+their+first+game+of+the+season.+They+celebrate+the+win+with+their+goalie+Hannah+Beard.

Photo submitted by Ally Care

The girls lacrosse team wins against Irondale in their first game of the season. They celebrate the win with their goalie Hannah Beard.

This spring, the girls lacrosse team hired an all-new coaching staff after their former coach retired. The team also has some obstacles to face with not having a season last year due to COVID-19. Ali Crofts, the new varsity head coach, hopes to bring her team far into sections and the state tournament by becoming a more unified team.

Crofts moved to Stillwater in January 2020 and was interested in getting involved in the community. When she heard of the open coaching position for the girls lacrosse team, she thought that would be an excellent way to get involved.

“I had a lot of support and encouragement from my own friends and family knowing my lacrosse experience and background and put in for it and interviewed and got the job offer, which I was thrilled about,” Crofts stated.

Crofts has played lacrosse since she was young and has consistently engaged in some lacrosse wherever she has lived. She played for the University of Connecticut, a D1 school, for four years and was captain of the team her senior year. When she moved to St. Paul she took a job as an assistant lacrosse coach for Hamline University.

Junior Isabel Knowlan said that she relates to Crofts because she has played and went through the high school and college program so she knows what it feels like to be a student-athlete. 

This is the first time having to hire a new coach since the girls lacrosse team was established 13 years ago. The previous coach, Rick Reidt, built the girls lacrosse program up from the start and taught the girls the basic fundamentals of the game at a young age to get the team to where it is today. 

“They are a phenomenal program with a very strong foundation built by the prior head coach, so I was really excited to have the opportunity to coach at a high level, highly competitive, high school program such as Stillwater,” Crofts said.

I was really excited to have the opportunity to coach at a high level, highly competitive, high school program such as Stillwater.”

— Ali Crofts

Not only does the team have to adapt to a new coaching staff this year, but they were also faced with the challenge of not having a season last spring due to COVID-19. The team has now been practicing with each other for the past two years and are ready to take the field.

Although it has been a difficult adjustment after their loss of practice junior Ally Carle said she “can already see a difference in how [the team] has all connected.”

Most of the players also participate in summer lacrosse programs and clubs to keep in shape for their upcoming season. In previous summers, most girls participated in the Eagles program that was run by their former coach. This summer, the girls are encouraged to participate in summer lacrosse whether that be through Eagles or any other club. Many girls are choosing to participate in Monkeys, a lacrosse club based out of Concordia University.

“It’s a more intense program and it’s with different people from all different schools this time, not just from Stillwater,” Knowlan said.

The girls lacrosse program has won first in their section for the past 10 years and hopes to continue this winning streak this season. Winning the section tournament also allows for the lacrosse team to participate in the state tournament.

“We would like to have a very high standing and ranking in our conference and win out in the section tournament, to have a bid into the state tournament and compete at the highest level of high school lacrosse in Minnesota,” Crofts said.

Carle would also like to make it to the state tournament this year with her new coach, “I’m hoping that we can find the courage and perseverance to make it a state and hopefully compete well against other teams.”

“I think it’s going to help us a lot with her knowledge of the game and just her coaching style,” Carle said. “When we are faced with adversity, she just has a positive attitude and also has been bringing a bunch of new plays and into our program so I think that’s going to help us a lot in the long run.”

“When we are faced with adversity, she just has a positive attitude and also has been bringing a bunch of new plays and into our program so I think that’s going to help us a lot in the long run,” Carle added.