Saturday, March 31, was a red letter day for the fledgling Voorheesville boys lacrosse program.
The 2-year-old program played its first varsity-level game when it met Troy for a non-league contest. And though the Blackbirds lost to the Flying Horses 16-1, the players were just happy to be on the field as a varsity team.
“It was our plan (to make the jump),” said junior Ben Wilson, who scored Voorheesville’s first goal at the varsity level. “Definitely, the competition is going to be tougher, but I think we’re definitely ready for all of our games.”
“I’m excited,” added junior Dan Brill. “Just playing through the season, we need to put some things together.”
Voorheesville wouldn’t have a varsity lacrosse program without the support and persistence of its juniors and their parents, said head coach Bob Gula.
“There was a group of them that had an interest in playing lacrosse,” said Gula. “The parents and kids went before the school board, and they put up a presentation about how they would be a self-funded program.”
There were a couple of unsuccessful bids before the school board allowed lacrosse to come to the Class C school in central Albany County in 2011.
“The school board was a little slow at first,” said Brill. “I’m just glad they let us have a program.”
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Wilson said the concern the school board had was the lacrosse team might pick up athletes that would have either played baseball or ran track and field, but he said virtually all of the current lacrosse players grew up playing that sport.
“We’re fortunate that we started a youth program in seventh and eighth grade, so we could get our stick skills down,” said Wilson.
The lacrosse team played at the junior varsity level last year and finished with a 5-5 record while playing an independent schedule.