Senior staff writer
Perry Meridian joins three Southside high schools in lacrosse this spring. The Falcons’ program is an outgrowth of increased interest in the sport.
“It is a sport that is up and coming at the high school level,” Perry Meridian club parent Brian June said. “It has been an extracurricular sport for a while, but athletes from other sports are becoming interested. Lacrosse has similarities to hockey, football and wrestling with the movement of the ball, setting a pick and the physical nature of the sport. And you do run a lot.”
Thirty high schoolers, mostly freshmen and sophomores, make up the boys team.
Lacrosse is also played as a club/varsity sport at Center Grove, Roncalli and Southport but is sanctioned by the Indiana High School Lacrosse Association.
The Falcons have five players who have experience but with other teams; four at Scecina and one at Roncalli.
“The goal is that the clubs for younger players become a feeder system,” June said. “This gives a lot of youngsters a new sport to become active.”
The Falcons are coached by Mark Arboneaux with assistants Peter Seoane and Brian Terry plus parent reps Brian June and Sarah Boston.
Perry Meridian was successful in its first lacrosse varsity contest in Falcon Stadium against Plainfield, 7-4. Historic firsts for the Falcons in lacrosse: Alex Laine, first goal scored; Noah June, first save; and Evan Ferguson, first assist.
They opened the newest Battle of Perry Township Tuesday against Southport at Perry Stadium. The Falcons visit Scecina at St. Lawrence Catholic Church/Devine Field April 25.
Southport coach Thomas Wright is in his third year at the Cardinals’ helm and welcomes the competition.
“I’m very glad that Perry Meridian is starting lacrosse,” said Wright, a 1993 graduate of Southport.
Wright, who previously coached at Heritage Christian, emphasized that a feeder system already exists through Perry Township Middle Lacrosse. He praised Southport athletic director Pete Hubert for making lacrosse inclusive at the high school, although the sport is not sanctioned by the IHSAA.
“It is a fun and active sport,” Wright said. “It is a finesse sport with contact that combines footwork, agility and strength.”
Southport has had lacrosse for several years; in the beginning with coach Doug Aldridge. Southport has 26 boys playing, the team’s largest roster. Wright said lacrosse is attracting athletes who are swimmers, football players and runners.
The Cardinals were winless during their first year but have improved steadily.
Center Grove lacrosse began as a club in 2008. The Trojans are coached by former Trojan player Drew Calvert, who is in his second year at the helm. The varsity program has more than 60 players.
One of Calvert’s goals is to utilize and expand a feeder system like coach Eric Moore’s football program.
Calvert emphasized the skills needed to play lacrosse: cradling comfortably, passing accurately and catching while under pressure.
The program covers boys 14 and under with junior varsity and varsity for boys and girls. The girls youth program has a 12-and-under team.
Roncalli is in its 10th boys season with Sean Cross as the only head coach; the girls are beginning their inaugural season. The Rebels have 35 boys playing varsity and junior varsity and more than 20 girls.
Most high schools use footballs fields that are divided into 35-yard attack areas at each end with a wing area in the middle. Boys teams consist of: three midfielders who move around the whole field and can pass the ball to attackers or score; defenders with long poles and can block opponents from scoring; attackers who stay in the offensive zone and score goals; and the goalie.
Different lengths and sticks are used to pass the ball with a mesh head or defend. Games can be played in four quarters, 15 minutes each.
Girls teams have no contact and use fields with different dimensions.