Tabor girls' lacrosse follows the sun to success

By Andrea Ray | Apr 18, 2017
Photo by: Andrea Ray

Win, lose, draw - what matters is getting better.

With a current season record mirroring their motto, Tabor Academy's girls' varsity lacrosse team must be doing something right.

"We lost to a good team, drew against an even better team, and we won against a very good team," said Head Coach Ian Patrick.

He's standing to one side, watching as the group of high school girls runs through the ladder setup on the ground. "I saw a new exercise for this on YouTube," he teased them.

"No you didn't," one of his players shot back, unfazed.

The team was supportive of each other, often cheering each other on as they practiced. But they're facing a challenge: experience.

"It's our biggest drawback," said Assistant Coach Melissa Bride. "They're talented despite their lack of experience. But a lot of them are young - we lost six seniors last year."

Interscholastic sports are a requirement for freshman and sophomore students at Tabor, and juniors and seniors must play another sport as well (it doesn't have to be interscholastic). The end result of that requirement is that the girls are on the field at least six days a week.

"We practice Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday," Patrick said. The intense schedule leaves enough room for games every Wednesday and Saturday.

Practice for the spring season starts early - so early that the girls become classic New England snowbirds.

They only recently returned from training at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex, located on the grounds of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Following the sun away from a dreary early March seems ideal, and it was - for practice.

"The weather down there really helps us be on our game early," Patrick said. "We're up against a lot of really good teams - anything helps."

Bride said one of the best assets to the team is the coach himself. Patrick is a 1984 graduate of Tabor, and he's been at the school the past 16 years. He's coached "just about everything except sailing," Bride joked. "His experience is great. The girls love him. He's intense, but he's instructive, and he's even-keeled. You don't know what an asset that it until you don't have it."

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