A new era: PSC plays 1st women's lacrosse home match Saturday


By Michael Minnich Mineral Daily News Tribune mminnich@newstribune.info

KEYSER, WV—“Two days!”

The Potomac State women’s lacrosse team ended their practice on Thursday evening with that exclamation.
Well, at noon on Saturday, that wait is over.

For the first time, women’s lacrosse comes to Keyser, as the Lady Catamounts battle the College of Southern Maryland, rain or shine, on the newly laid artificial turf of Stayman Field.
“We’re really excited,” said PSC head coach Katelyn Kesecker. “We’re excited and ready to get going. The girls have been preparing for a long time now, and they’re ready to defend their home turf and show everyone what we can do.”

PSC opened on the road with losses to Division II Alderson Broaddus (18-13) and JUCO foe Harford (24-7).

“That first game against Alderson Broaddus, our girls went out there and shocked me. That was a Division II NCAA team, and we hung right with them. With a first-year program, it’s really hard to score, and we scored 13 goals,” said Kesecker. “We definitely impressed some people.”

Coach Kesecker
Katelyn Kesecker

Kesecker played her high school lacrosse at Arundel High in the lacrosse hotbed of eastern Maryland, then earned her degree in exercise science at Frostburg State in just three years, excelling for the Lady Bobcats as a midfielder and draw specialist.

Kesecker then went on to collect her masters from California University of Pennsylvania last year; she is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and a certified speed specialist through the National Association of Speed and Explosion.

All part of a whirlwind year for Kesecker, who accepted the position of head coach of the brand-new program not even a year ago, on March 21. “Hectic and busy,” said Kesecker of her life. “I was hired in March, and I had that much time to get some girls together and build a team.”

“I’m really happy with how far we’ve come, and I’m happy with the enthusiasm and how much effort they’ve been putting in.”

The roster is a mix of seasoned lacrosse players and newbies to the sport. “I would say 50-50. About half of them I brought in, half of them I picked up at the school. And that’s pretty much equivalent to how many girls have experience as well. But the girls who don’t have experience are natural athletes and are picking it up quickly,” said Kesecker.
The biggest challenge for a new lacrosse player?

“Stick skills. It’s a skill-related sport, so it takes a lot of time and a lot of practice to get them down. If you can’t catch and throw, you can’t win a game.”
The new surface has been an asset already.

“It’s amazing. Not a lot of programs have turf fields, so this is a huge blessing for us. We love coming out here every day,” said Kesecker. “It’s weather-proof. It doesn’t get muddy. We can clean the snow off and be out here pretty much whenever we want to.”

Recruiting to an area where high school lacrosse hasn’t taken root yet is a challenge. “It’s very difficult. My ‘local’ programs are around Morgantown, so I have a couple of girls coming in next year from up there, but it’s really hard to recruit locally,” said Kesecker. “I have to go down to my home roots in Maryland and see what I can get from that area.”

Nationally, lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports.

“There are about eight high schools in West Virginia that have girls’ lacrosse. It’s growing rapidly, so I’m excited to see how much it grows in the next few years.”
What should people new to the sport look for from the stands?

“Lacrosse is the fastest game on two feet. It’s very quick. You have to keep up with it. It’s a lot of ball movement. It’s a lot of finesse. It’s really excited to watch. I think that people who haven’t seen the sport before will be really excited.”

The Lady Catamounts will have four more home matches in their inaugural campaign, playing Mohawk Valley Community College on March 20 and 21, Anne Arundel on April 11, and finally Division II West Virginia Wesleyan on April 24.

But the message today? “Play hard. Give me all you’ve got. Let’s shock some people.”