Local lacrosse tournament returns this weekend

Kyle Bordner (blue) of the Front Royal Rippers competes for control of the ball with Caleb Kemer of the Winchester Vipers during a recent lacrosse match. Shenandoah Valley Youth Lacrosse will be holding a tournament Saturday in Front Royal. Photo courtesy of SVYL

Lacrosse is not quite the secret that it was when Shenandoah Valley Youth Lacrosse planted its roots in the area six years ago.

The sport remains one of the fastest growing in the country, and the SVYL has seen expansion in line with that of the rest of the nation, as the league – which is open to boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 18 from Shenandoah, Warren, Frederick and Clarke counties – has grown by 300 percent over the last two years alone, according to SVYL board member Julie Constantino.

But league president Sean Bordner said he knows there is always room for more expansion, and this weekend’s SVYL Tournament in Front Royal could be just the chance for unfamiliar members of the community to become acquainted with lacrosse.

“If you’re not very familiar with the sport of lacrosse or if you’ve played it your whole life, it’s a great opportunity to come out and either see what it’s all about or enjoy a good, fun, full day of lacrosse,” Bordner said Wednesday.

The tournament, held at the old Warren County Middle School at 500 West 15th St., begins with an opening ceremony at 8:45 a.m. Saturday morning and will be the second such event put on by the SVYL.

Ava Bordner, a member of the Shenandoah Valley Youth Lacrosse girls U11 team, passes the ball during a recent match. Photo courtesy of SVYL

This year’s tournament promises to be bigger than last year’s, as 12 teams make up the U9/11 and U13/15 age divisions that will compete in Front Royal. Six teams comprise each of the two age divisions, with the U13/15 tournament being held on the main field while the U9/11 teams use the lower field.

The U13/15 tournament, which will be conducted in a double-elimination format, kicks off with a 9 a.m. matchup between the Front Royal Rippers and the Winchester Vipers green team. A showdown between the Woodstock Sabers and Culpeper will follow at 10 a.m., then a matchup between Strasburg S2 and the Winchester Vipers yellow team at 11 a.m. Games will be played all day, with the final game beginning at 5 p.m.

The U9/11 tournament includes the Front Royal Rippers, a combined Strasburg/Woodstock team, the Winchester Vipers green and yellow teams, the Clarke County Trailblazers and Culpeper. The final game for the younger division will start at 2:30 p.m.

There is no cost of admission to the tournament, Bordner said.

“The main goal for me is that the kids have a great time this weekend – this is one of their final games of the year – and they’re left with the impression that it was very positive and that they practice lacrosse, they sign up with lacrosse camps over the summer, they talk to their friends about it,” Bordner said. “Also, beyond that the second objective would be for just the community to come out and start experiencing it. It’s a good sport but what’s great about lacrosse, being a new guy to lacrosse for only a few years, would be the sportsmanship is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. … It’s a great thing to experience. It’s a great sport to watch and I’d love for the community to come check it out and partake in the fun.”

Bordner said one of the new things the SVYL is bringing to this year’s tournament is the use of a drone to record aerial footage of the matches.

“We experimented with it last year, it was a huge success, so we’re definitely gonna do it full on this year,” he said.

Bordner said it was difficult to calculate how many people attended last year’s tournament, but he expected to have a total turnout of about 1,000 people prior to the event. He said attendance could exceed that number this weekend.

“I was just assuming most people that were there were there because their kid was playing, and that’s what I would like to see change this year,” Bordner said. “It’s open, it’s free admission, it’s going on all day long. We would just invite everybody to swing by and check it out.”

The rain date for the tournament is June 4. For more information on Shenandoah Valley Youth Lacrosse, visit the league’s website at www.svylacrosse.org.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com