Girls lacrosse coach Roger Ellis returns for another season

Lily Tiong, Writer

With a team of 30 players comprised of both Fenton and Linden high school girls, all the team needed now was a coach. After searching for a new coach and finding no suitor, former coach Roger Ellis decided to stay for yet another year of coaching. He is the coach for both the girls JV and varsity lacrosse teams..

“Last year I retired, and I was going to Alaska, but this year I came back because of a family matter,” Ellis said. “My wife and I were watching over my mother-in-laws house while shes down in Florida with her sister who has lung cancer. So it just afforded me that opportunity, and once I spoke with Mr. Bakker, regarding three times the job being posted and no one taking it, along with 30 girls wanting to play, I thought they deserved a coach.”

With 30 girls, grades ranging from freshman to senior, the option for two teams was now available. Since Ellis came back to coach for another season, the girls did not have to adjust to someone new.

“When I first found out about Roger coming back I was really excited,” sophomore Brie Sanford said. “He already knew how we play and we didn’t have to do an adjustment to a new coach that we might’ve not met before.Last year we played very good and our new and old players improved throughout the season. My expectations for this season is to win the metro title again and make it to regionals, but also to have the freshman understand and love the sport as much as I do by the end of the year.”

JV and varsity teams are coached differently by Ellis. In JV, they mainly focus on teaching how to play the sport, and getting comfortable with it, whereas Varsity is more about the performance of the girls out on be field.

“With 18 girls who have never played the sport (JV team), they have just been introduced to what a cross is, how to pass, catch, wear the goggles, and talk through the mouth pieces,” Ellis said. “They have to learn how to do all of these things because you can watch as many videos as you want, but you don’t learn the game unless you’re out there playing. In the JV level, the focus is to get everyone out on the field playing. On varsity though, once they accomplished a certain amount of skill level, then it’s just putting the best foot forward.”

The past two years, the varsity girls lacrosse team have won the league. Although in the end winning would be ideal for both Ellis and his team, it is not what they are trying to accomplish.

“The main goal is to become a more complete lacrosse team,” Ellis said. “Having those skills of passing, catching and cradling but having the teamwork aspect in there too. In the past, we’ve had just a hand full of players with those skills, but if we can have all 12 players on the field with those skills, and are communicating right, then the successes just start to happen. The second most important thing is winning the league.”

The league has been around for two years, and the varsity girls lacrosse team has won both times. It is their goal this season to win again for the third time in a row.

“In the past few years, Roger has really pushed us to work hard and as a team and I think it has really paid off,” senior Jessica Lynch said. “ When he started as the coach back in my freshman year it was the first year ever for the entire team and he had no idea how to play lacrosse so he had to learn everything along with the players and it was a process. By the time I joined the team my sophomore year, he was very well informed in the game of lacrosse and had researched different drills and techniques that helped us grow so much. He is so dedicated to lacrosse and it really pays off because having a coach who is constantly researching new drills and pushing us to work harder gives us the confidence and the skills to be successful.”

With the help of the team captains, Lynch, senior Kelly Kemp and Linden senior Mckenzie Gormley, Ellis has lead the team to work together as one. All the practice going into the game is projected to make for a good season, according to the captains.

“So far everyone has been getting along great and the new incoming freshmen are catching on so fast,” Lynch said. “As one of the captains it’s partly my responsibility to make sure that our team dynamic is super strong and the girls this year make that so easy because everyone is so nice and they all work very hard. I think we will go very far this year because we have a lot of strong girls and we all have the same determination to do well and with Roger as our coach who I know will never stop pushing us to do our best, I think this year will be the best so far.”

The varsity team started their season with a game on April 12 against Swartz Creek away and won with a score of 13-3. JV is scheduled to play their first game on April 18 against Adams High School at home.