LAX players’ leave decreases team experience

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CORRECTION: a correction to this article was made April 18, 2018. The previous article had two quotations that were not in alignment with our publication’s journalistic standards.

Priscilla Hopper media manager

The boys varsity lacrosse team experienced a large number of non returners and drop outs for the 2018 season, resulting in a loss of valuable veteran players.

Last year, the boys varsity lacrosse team had 22 non-seniors (out of 24), but only 11 of those players returned for the 2018 season. This season, the lacrosse program accepted 19 rookies, most of whom are freshmen.

Co-captain Kenneth Villanueva started on the team as a freshman and decided to stay for his final year to finish the full four years.

“I’m just kinda here for these guys,” Villanueva said, surrounded by other varsity teammates. “There were some guys who didn’t really agree with the coaching style and they didn’t agree quite strongly, but didn’t know how to retain their emotions, so the only way they could show [how they felt] was to just leave.”

Other upperclassmen left for a variety of reasons like inconvenient practice times and personal reasons..Some who dropped out or did not return did so to focus on other after school activities like jobs.

Daily varsity practice begins at 3:30 p.m. and ends at 5:30. John* left due to time constraints.

“The practice times were just really inconvenient. It seemed like every other sport finished two hours before us, and it just consumed a huge part of our day,” John said.

Co-captain Brian Harward believes the loss of students discouraged some players, but still has a positive outlook on the season ahead.

“I think as a team we just need to have the same attitude and energy we had before anyone had left. People leaving just means guys have to step out of their comfort zone and compete,” Harward said.

Lacrosse is a contact sport that requires technique, strategy and ample hand-eye coordination. However, according to another player who left, Calvin*, a large reason for his absence was the “lack of chemistry between the players.”

While he also began as a freshman, John had some regrets about leaving the team.

“I did feel some remorse [after leaving the team] because I feel like we improved a lot by the end of last season, and that probably would have carried over to this year,” John said.

Another student, Archer*, who did not rejoin the team this year felt remorseful about leaving his few remaining friends on the team.

“We’ve been through a lot together and I’ll always be there to support them but I just couldn’t be a complacent part of that system anymore,” Archer said.

In the past, lacrosse players have been penalized for attending Coachella, a music festival that overlaps with the spring sports season. This year, Head Coach Kyle Kobe explicitly added the restriction into the expectations of the team called the Coachella Clause.

“Any player who misses lacrosse activities due to Coachella is automatically removed from the lacrosse team and given an ‘F’ in period 6 lacrosse,” Kobe wrote in this year’s presentation to the lacrosse team members and parents.

Archer thought the Coachella Clause was a reason for not re-joining the team for some players.

“Numerous athletes consider lacrosse but opt out of joining because they simply do not want to deal with [Kobe]. Perhaps the most glaring example of his ignorance is the Coachella Clause,” Archer said.

While coach Ellis is hopeful for a successful season with or without the lost team members, Kobe declined to comment.

*Names of some students were changed to honor their anonymity

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