By Chris Wood and Reed Jaworski
Editor-in-chief and Staff Writer
At Jamesville-DeWitt High School, athletic excellence has become a staple for all of our programs. But in recent years there has been a surge of girls lacrosse players that go on and play at the collegiate level such as Victoria Nies and Liz Beville, who are members of the J-D Class of 2011.
But how did it all start?
Phil Luckette, head coach of the Varsity Girls Lacrosse team and Hayley Nies, head coach of the Junior Varsity Girls Lacrosse team started the girls lacrosse team at J-D 20 years ago. Back then Coach Luckette was coaching both the JV and Varsity Girls Lacrosse team. “We were coaching soccer together and then (Coach Luckette) said ‘why don’t you coach lacrosse?’ and I said ‘I don’t know anything (about the sport).’ And then he basically taught me,” said Coach Nies.
Mr. Luckette and Mrs. Nies also started the girls lacrosse branch of the Jamesville-DeWitt Youth Athletic Association about 15 years ago when they both had daughters that were in first and second grade (Victoria Nies and Emily Luckette). Mrs. Nies believes this program has been a key reason why the J-DHS program has been so successful. “J-DYAA promoted the sport for the youth, it is something fun to do, and tournaments get the kids hooked,” said Mrs. Nies. Similarly, Mr. Luckette feels the J-DYAA program is important because “the sooner they get the stick in their hands, the better off they are.”
The players also believe that starting early benefits them. Sophomore and defender Bella Hylen says that J-D has a successful program because “we start young.” “(J-DYAA) gives you an opportunity to start developing your skills early and to learn the game,” says sophomore midfielder Meghan Byrnes. Victoria Nies, J-D Alumni and current senior at Le Moyne College said, “I learned a lot from JDYAA, the rules and how to play. All my friends did it, so we were always together, so we knew how to play together.” Nies has translated her high school experience to success at college. She was part of the first ever Le Moyne College Women’s Lacrosse team to win the conference, in 2013. They have also won the league the last two years as well as making it to the Final Four in 2012 and 2011.
Due to the J-DYAA Girls Lacrosse program, the great J-DHS coaching staff, and the players being “true students of the game,” many former Varsity Girls Lacrosse players have gone on to play lacrosse at the collegiate level. “I think college coaches like our players because they are players that are willing to learn. When they get to be seniors in high school some athletes think they know it all. But we have a tradition of players that want to keep improving and that’s a big thing that coaches ask for; they want kids who don’t think they’ve accomplished it all,” says Coach Luckette. Some have performed well at the Division III level, while others have been key contributors to Division I programs. Senior defender Olivia Jasinski thinks the past players inspire the current players to pursue collegiate careers. “We played with them our whole lives and watched them play, so if they can make it, we can as well,” says Jasinski.
Coach Luckette believes that because the players develop as students of the game through their years of playing and learning they want to share it with the younger girls in the program. “It starts with them volunteering with J-DYAA, and working camps and helping out younger sisters and friends,” says Coach Luckette. On top of the youth programs, the coaches help develop their players through many drills. “We always try to explain how the drill fits in the game,” says Coach Luckette. Whether it is an important aspect which could’ve helped them in their last game or something new, the coaching staff always wants to incorporate the drills to game-situations. “We want them to think; we like the why because eventually they have to get on the field and think for themselves and a drill doesn’t exactly translate to a game situation, but they have to see those connections and try to think for themselves and make it happen,” says Coach Luckette.
Freshman midfielder Alyssa Phillips believes that because the team “practices a lot, and so hard,” they have become successful. Phillips added that the coaches being, “nice and motivational” helps them. “We have good coaches who are dedicated to what they do and making us better,” says junior Erin Lumia, who plays midfield and also attack. Sophomore midfielder Kallen Prosak and Byrnes agree that the coaches have really helped all the players develop. “They really have a good grip on the game, and they know the best ways to teach it,” said Prosak. “They (the coaches) taught me everything I know,” said Victoria Nies. “I like to see how the kids can develop; I like to challenge them and see what they’re capable of. I like them to figure things out on their own and if they can’t then I’ll instruct them,” says Coach Nies.
María Sahyoun, Spanish teacher at J-DHS, had both of her daughters go through the J-D lacrosse program. Vivianne Sahyoun was an All-American and went on to play at Rutgers University, and Señora Sahyoun said J-D’s program “gave her the opportunity to excel in her sport.” Señora Sahyoun believes that through their years of playing under Coach Luckette at J-D and in college it has helped them with their coaching careers and creating Impact Lacrosse, a program designed to teach and train girls lacrosse.
Along with an extensive list of graduated players, Taylor Fallon, senior who plays attack, will be joining the list of players pursuing a collegiate career next year at Saint Bonaventure University. For a full list of the players that are playing in college, see the list below.
-Maire Prosak; Freshman (Goalie) at University of Rochester
-Meredith Howe; Senior (Midfield) at Lake Erie College
-Ashriel West; Junior (Attack/ Midfield) at Lake Erie College
-Alex Freeman; Senior/Junior (Defense) at Lake Erie College
-Tara Prosak; Junior (Goalie) at Nazareth College
-Liz Beville; Junior (Midfield) at SUNY Cortland
-Lauren Beville; Freshman (Defense) at Franklin Pierce University
-Taryn Dausman; Sophomore (Midfield) at Clarkson University
-Victoria Nies; Junior (Midfield) Le Moyne College
All rookie team freshman
1st team conference this year, and All-American
-Molly Maroney; Senior (Defense) Le Moyne College
-Melissa Jaworski; Head Coach at St. Augustine High School
-Lauren Cobb; Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach at St. Lawrence University
-Emily Luckette; Co-Coach at Santa Margarita Catholic High School
Program Director/ Founder of Impact Lacrosse
D-1 player at Rutgers, 3-year starter, leader in assists and 11th ranked team in country
D-1 coach, University of Connecticut
D-3 Coach, Drew University - Conference Title - Coaching staff of year - NCAA appearance
HS coach - Current Mount Olive Head Coach
2012 daily record Coach of the Year
Former HS All- American
In J-DHS Hall of Fame
Marketing Director/ Co-founder of Impact Lacrosse
Head Girls Coach at Morris Hills High School
Played club lacrosse at Penn State
Coached at Westfield High School