Posted February 1, 2010 | comments Leave a comment

Area athletes get chance to play lacrosse

Phillip Baldwin takes a shot into a net
Phillip Baldwin, 15, takes a shot into a net in his backyard. He's one of a growing number of area athletes playing lacrosse. Dennis Grundman/Daily

Phillip Baldwin shows the protective equipment
Phillip Baldwin shows the protective equipment used to play lacrosse. Dennis Grundman/Daily

Phillip Baldwin stands in front of his lacrosse net
Phillip Baldwin, 15, stands in front of his lacrosse net in full uniform. Dennis Grundman/Daily

Phillip Baldwin takes aim at the net
Phillip Baldwin, 15, takes aim at the net in his backyard. Dennis Grundman/Daily

By Amber Marra - amarra@nvdaily.com

Soon, budding lacrosse players across the region will have a place to practice their sport with the creation of the Shenandoah Valley Youth Lacrosse League.

Before the inception of the Shenandoah Valley league, players from the area had to go to great lengths to play what the league's president, Joe Pfisterer, calls "the first great American sport."

The main goal of the league is to not only get as many players active in lacrosse as possible, but to also get local high schools to pick up the sport, a goal that Pfisterer has accomplished already in Loudoun County.

"We've found a lot of kids here who want to pick up the stick and play, but I think any time you put something like this together you have to have realistic expectations," said Mike Giangreco, vice president of recruitment for the league and sports anchor for TV3 Winchester.

The league is in its recruiting stages currently, taking anyone ages 9 to 18 until March 1. There is a $99 registration fee that covers field rentals, league fees, officials, practice jerseys, United States Lacrosse membership and secondary insurance.

The league will not provide equipment, however.

"I want to develop this into a youth lacrosse program that will eventually culminate into a successful sport that can be introduced into all the area high schools," Pfisterer said.

Gaining interest and developing talent shouldn't be too difficult with the amount of experience both Pfisterer and Giangreco have.

Pfisterer played on Towson University's lacrosse team and in the Lacrosse World Championships, while Giangreco played at the University of Dayton.

They league has already gained the attention of some youthful talent, including Phillip Baldwin, a sophomore from Clarke County High School who plays attack.

"I like the fact that you have a stick to catch the ball with rather than just your hands and feet. It takes a lot of skill to catch the ball and people get very competitive when you hit them and they want to get you back," he said.

The players will be divided into five age groups, U9, U11, U13, U15 and U18 and according to Tracey Pitcock, recreation program coordinator in Clarke County, the league would like to see at least two teams per division and per gender.

She also said that the league will be "sensitive to scheduling up and down I-81" when they start playing and practicing in April.

Though there are currently no high schools in the area that have lacrosse available as a sport, Pfisterer expects that gauging interest in the Shenandoah Valley will be easier than when he brought the sport to Loudon County.

"There are some very talented kids here that want to do something athletic but can't get on any of the high school teams, so this will allow some young men and women to join a great sport," Pfisterer said.

For more information on joining the Shenandoah Valley Youth Lacrosse League, go to leaguelineup.com/svlacrosse or contact Giangreco at mikeg@tv3winchester.com.

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