Steamboat Springs High school girls lacrosse sees higher potential this season | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs High School girls lacrosse sees higher potential this season

From left to right, Steamboat Springs senior Anna Nell, junior Alexa Paoli and junior Kelly Strotbeck practice passing at practice on Thursday, March 7, in the auxiliary gym at Steamboat Springs High School. (Photo by Leah Vann)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs High School girls lacrosse team is looking to benefit from more structure this season.

Former assistant coach Amy Norris has taken the reigns as the new head coach, and she’s breaking practices down to the basics: footwork, conditioning and stick work.

Steamboat girls lacrosse

March 20: vs. Aspen, L 20-5
March 23: at Cherokee Trail
March 26: at Summit
March 29: at Grand Junction
March 30: at Fruita Monument
April 3: vs. Roaring Fork
April 5: vs. Montrose
April 12: at Rocky Mountain
April 13: at Golden
April 15: vs. Thompson Valley
April 18: at Evergreen
May 1: vs. Eagle Valley
May 4: vs. Battle Mountain

She watches the girls line up and run through different footwork sequences on a brand new ladder she got yesterday. They start with a side-stepping motion: one foot in, one foot out.

On the other side of the gym, the girls sprint the length of the gym before coming to a stop and shuffling to the side and backpedaling back in line. The two groups switch sides after they’ve finished their set of drills.

“We've been working a lot on our footwork and our conditioning so, when we do get outside, first game next Friday, we're hopefully in game shape,” Norris said. “It's hard to play in a small space, but we're making the best of it. We're excited. As soon as that turf's clear, it gives us so much more room to spread out and really condition. It's hard to play on a field that's 40 yards, and you practice on a field that's 10 yards, but we're staying on top of it.”

The added organization also comes from a spark in interest. The girls now have enough to fully field both a junior varsity and varsity squad. In the past, girls would spend time on both teams, causing a rift in team chemistry.

“Practices were so big, and we didn't get a ton of reps, and it wasn't organized. Now that we can practice in two gyms and separate it, we get a lot more done,” Steamboat junior Riley Schott said. “It's nice to be playing in practice all week with the same girls you're going to be playing with on the field.”

Steamboat Springs junior Riley Schott looks on after catching a pass at practice on Thursday, March 7, in the auxiliary gym at Steamboat Springs High School (Photo by Leah Vann )

The girls team brings back four seniors, including senior Lucy Shimek, who is committed to play at Liberty University next year. Shimek has been a staple on the Sailors’ offense and is part of the reason for the team’s growth. She has coached girls in the past who are coming in as freshmen.

“I think this season is the first chance we have at making it to the playoffs,” Shimek said. “With me leaving next year, I just want to leave this team with as much of what I know as I can. I want to leave them with as good of resources and knowledge as I can.”

Shimek believes the confidence stems from the level of experience from top to bottom. Even freshmen are coming in with more experience than before. The new head coach has also sparked a change in attitude as compared to past years, despite an increased emphasis on conditioning.

“I think Amy is really energetic and new, and it’s good sometimes to have something new,” Shimek said. “Betsy [Frick] taught me a lot about sportsmanship and teamwork, but I’m really excited to have Amy as our coach because she came from Aspen, so she knows what they do to make their girls good.”

The players feel Shimek has seen the team’s evolution over the years, from getting blown out by Battle Mountain and Grand Junction, to beating both teams last year.

The Sailors’ first test will be at Durango on Friday, March 15, then in Telluride on Saturday, March 16. They will host their first home game on Wednesday, March 20, against Aspen, one of the toughest teams in the Mountain League.

“On the field, we want to work together to compete with every team on our schedule,” Norris said. “We have the talent and commitment to be successful. Last year, we finished an all-time high — third in our conference.  Maybe this can be our year to win it.”

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email lvann@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.