More than a decade ago, Cary girls lacrosse coach Chrishonda Jefferson was in her current players’ shoes. She was on the first girls lacrosse team at Cary as a freshman, but the path for varsity girls lacrosse program has been uneven since then.
The Imps didn’t have a team in 2014 but had a junior varsity team the last two seasons. It went undefeated last year as a JV group, but Jefferson knew it was important to get back to the varsity level.
“Last year we were winning every game 14-1 and 13-1, so me and the athletic director, we talked about it,” Jefferson said. “We weren’t growing on JV, and we were winning by a lot. I feel like we needed to grow more in a faster rate than have another season just winning 14-1.”
Sophomore Natalie Johnson said a lot of her teammates are new to the sport.
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“Most people don’t really know what lacrosse is,” Johnson said. “We’re building our team knowledge of the sport, and it’s really introducing the girls to the game. We watch games as a team to build our knowledge of the game.”
This year’s team is off to a 0-7 start.
A down-to-the-wire 11-10 loss to Jordan (4-4) on March 7 showed both the progress the Imps have made and where they still need to grow. The Imps had a 7-3 lead at halftime, and three players finished with hat tricks. But they gave up their lead and lost the game when Jordan scored with just five seconds remaining.
It wasn’t the result Jefferson wanted, but there were positive signs for her young program, and next year’s move out of the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference and into the new-look Triangle 6 should help.
“I’m seeing more intensity, and we’re growing,” Jefferson said. “It takes a bit to be on this varsity level and competing at varsity level.”