(COVINGTON, La.) — St. Paul’s School has many sports and clubs on its campus that most people and students don’t know about. The lacrosse team, however, has quickly become one of the most recognizable groups on campus and has recently cranked up the 2015 season, crushing Dutchtown in the season opener with a 16-3 win on Jan. 17.
The fast-paced, high intensity sport has been around St. Paul’s since 2008. The SPS lacrosse team has been extraordinarily successful over the past five years; The team finished in the quarterfinals of the playoffs in 2011 and was the state runner-up in 2012, 2013, and 2014. In 2012, they also won the district title.
The varsity team, which finished second in state last year, returns with a lot of experience, yet contains a fountain of youth. Eight seniors will be returning, including four starters on offense and two starters on defense. The team is led by captains Max Gold, Hunter Simonson, Connor Lu, and JP Juge.
The Wolves’ biggest rival is Jesuit High School. The varsity team has lost to the Blue Jays in the state finals for the past three years, and lost again to them in a tight 6-5 scrimmage this past weekend. The teams have also met many times in district play and have played each other for the district championship.
“Every game with Jesuit is historic for our lacrosse program,” Juge said. “The rivalry between the two teams really intensifies things. I know going into a game versus Jesuit that a win will have to be earned.
“The games against Jesuit are the games we look forward to each year. After losing the state championship to them last year, I feel more inspired to beat them, not only for this year’s team, but for all of the players last year. (The Blue Jays) are a well-rounded team, but I believe that we have the ability to defeat them this year,” Juge said.
The sport is growing in popularity around the country with no signs of losing momentum. At St. Paul’s, lacrosse is the second biggest sport in the school, with only the football team having more members.
“I started playing going into eighth grade because I wanted to get involved in a team sport at St. Paul’s,” Juge said. “The excitement of the sport and the joy of the culture that surrounds it has led me to continue my lacrosse career throughout high school and hopefully into college.”
Popularity of the sport is beginning to catch on, reaching out into the community in the form of clubs, leagues, and summer camp programs, which is beginning to create a feeder system for the school’s program.
“I started playing lacrosse after an indoor lacrosse league started up at the hockey rink, and when I came to St. Paul’s I decided to continue playing it to get more involved,” senior Lane Sumrall said. “I keep coming back because I’m in love with the game and I love my teammates. They are the ones that make it easy to go to practice and make the year a good one no matter what.”
The Lacrosse Wolves’ next match with be at St. Thomas Moore in Hammond at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30. A home game will follow the next day, Saturday, Jan. 31, in Hunter Statium at 1:30 p.m.
For the full varsity schedule and scoreboard updates throughout the season, click here.