One Team One Dream

Seniors share experiences of starting club lacrosse team

When the Blue Valley Tiger Lacrosse Club was formed in 2014, it started as a group of about 20 predominately freshman BV boys who wanted an opportunity to play for their school.

The team had no money, no organization, consisted of players from three different BV high schools and included only two upperclassmen.

Senior Brett Florack is a varsity captain and four-year member of the team. He said the team was originally created to give BV students a chance to play for their school.

“We had a lot of kids going to BV,” Florack said. “BV didn’t have its own team, so we’d have to play for North or West. We didn’t want to do that.”

Four years later, those freshmen are now seniors, and their goals for the season have changed.

“When we first played, it was just to play lacrosse,” Florack said, “Now we see we have a chance at a League championship. Last year, we made it to the semifinals.”

Another goal of the BV Lacrosse Club is to introduce new players to the game and give them opportunities to get better and compete at high levels.

Senior Garrett Stigge started playing lacrosse in eighth grade. Now, he is starting on the varsity team. He said the club program is a big reason for his success.

“Sophomore year, I practiced way more,” Stigge said. “I actually wanted to get better and start varsity. [Coach] Mike McKenna showed me the basics of lacrosse, and he was really committed to getting me better.”

Because of the lack of older players, they competed only in the JV and freshman league for their inaugural season. In 2015, they moved up to the varsity division. Although the Tigers went 2-10, Stigge said the experience from playing at a higher level helped the team improve.

“Playing varsity as a sophomore definitely helped me,” Stigge said. “I played against better competition than I would have on JV, so I got more varsity-playing experience.”

Florack said one of the biggest challenges with being a club team is finding fields available to play and practice on.

“School sports all have field priority over us because we’re club,” Florack said. “Girls soccer has the field until 6:30 or 7. Whenever we play games, it’s under the lights but super late, like 11 p.m. We play varsity and JV games, and that’s cutting it late for us kids with school.”

Another issue with being a private team is team finances. Florack said a lot of the funding for individual players’ equipment comes from the players themselves.

“We do fundraising for team equipment, like new goals,” Florack said. “Last year, we did a Jose  Pepper’s night where a portion of the proceeds went to us, and like football, we sold restaurant discount cards.”

Florack said another deficit to not being school-sponsored is not being able to have full-time coaches.

“A lot of the challenge is coaching availability because all of the coaches are parents with day jobs,” Florack said. “We can’t afford to get a paid coach, so it’s really hard to get practices.”

Since its conception, the BV Lacrosse Club has more than doubled in players of all different skill levels and expanded to three different teams. Florack said creating a BV team gave them an opportunity to make their own legacy and take advantage of their talent.

“We knew we wanted to make something to remember,” Florack said. “We knew we had potential to be a really good team. This year we see we have a chance to win BV’s first championship.”