Becca LaFramboise (middle) instructs the McNary girls lacrosse team, which has become the only lacrosse team for the entire Salem-Keizer district. Photo by Matt Rawlings of Keizertimes
The McNary girls lacrosse team has been around since its inception during the 2016 season but entering this season they got a unique title in the Salem-Keizer area.
They’re the only Salem-Keizer School District squad to have a girls lacrosse team. In recent years, West Salem, Sprague, and South had squads along with the Celtics, but they’ve slowly lost numbers and had to join other teams, as Sprague and South Salem did a few years ago in girls lacrosse – or fold all together.
As practice started on Feb. 28, running alongside with the OSAA Spring season because it’s a club sport, McNary brought on players from South and West to help grow the sport in the area.
“Having girls from all over the different high schools in the Salem-area is wonderful. We’ve been making connections,” said sixth-year Celtic Head Coach Becca LaFramboise. “We started it in the 2020 season. We continued it, and the girls have been loving playing together. They’ve loved getting to know each other.”
“We’re just growing the girls lacrosse community in Salem,” she added. “By having the community and having all these girls with different experiences [means] the world. I know that at McNary we got the support from the board and at the high school to help us with these girls.”
Lacrosse has long been a popular intramural sport in the Midwest and on the East Coast, but has been gaining popularity out West, as well. Rain or shine, lacrosse athletes can be found playing all over Oregon as the sport has grown through the years. Players from McNary have gone on to compete as student-athletes at Willamette University and Corban University’s lacrosse programs, such as Katie Bebee. Bebee is currently on the team as a sophomore attacker (similar to a forward in soccer), with the Warriors and Kendyl Jennings is a sophomore with the Bearcats as a Middie (midfielder).
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Laframboise. “A lot of colleges in the area have started a girls lacrosse team … the two colleges in the Salem-area literally just started one. I’ve had several girls from the past few years who’ve gone to Corban to play. I’ve had a couple of girls who went to Willamette as well to play after high school. So it’s been a really cool experience for them.”
The first day of practice brought out 13 girls for the official start of the season as they prepared for their season opener, Mar. 16 at Churchill High School.
“We’re definitely going to have a great season,” said the coach. “All of the girls here are really excited to play, they’re excited for the season and pumped. They’ve gotten all of their friends to play, so we’re going to try to continue to grow the sport. We want South to have their team back, we want West to get a team and we want Sprague to get a team. We want McKay to get a team, that’s the end goal – once these girls leave me, I’ll be sad, but that’s the end goal.”
McNary’s schedule can be found at: http://www.oregongirlslax.com/Bulletins.asp?MyTeam=710214&org=oregongirslaxcom