Women’s lacrosse stars conduct clinic

>Professionals coach girls at Hampshire Dome

MILFORD – Nearly 200 girls ranging in age from first graders to high school graduates flocked to a lacrosse clinic at the Hampshire Dome recently to learn the finer points of the game from stars of the new United Women’s Professional Lacrosse League.

The league warpped up its inaugural season with its Championship Weekend in Baltimore on July 31 when the Long Island Sound defeated the Boston Storm 13-8 for the first title in league history.

As part of that weekend the league was holding a clinic with pros from all four of its teams – The Boston Storm, Philadel­phia Force, Long Island Sound, and Bal­timore Ride – but the clinic at the Hamp­shire Dome, adjacent to the Hampshire Hills Athletic Club, came first and drew a good crowd, many of them members of the Granite State Elite Lacrosse Club, which co-sponsored the clinic.

On hand were McKinley Curro, of Amherst, pro player for the the Long Island Sound (who scored the first two-point goal in the history of women’s la­crosse), Kelsey McGovern of the Phila­delphia Force, and Bowen Holden, coach and general manager of the Bos­ton Storm.

"We want to get girls excited about the growth of women’s lacrosse," said Curro, who starred in the sport at Souhegan High School and Boston University.

Regarding the new league, she said, "Obviously that’s something I, as a kid, never had to look up to. We want the girls to dream big."

But Holden made sure that the kids at the clinic understood that before anyone can dream big, they have to work hard.

"How many of you play wall ball five times a week?" she asked, and only one or two hands were raised. "How many of you play four times a week?" A few more hands. "How many three times a week?" More hands, but not a majority of the girls attending the clinic.

"Well," Holden said, "these women (indicating Curro and McGovern) play wall ball at least five times a week."

In other words, you want to be a pro? You have to work hard.

And for the next 45 minutes, she, Cur­ro and McGovern put the kids through coaching drills that seemed to drill home that message.

For McGovern, who is from Massa­chusetts, and played at UMass Amherst where she now coaches varsity women’s lacrosse, the clinic was a chance to give something back to the sport.

"Lacrosse has done so much for me," she said. "It helped me get a higher edu­cation and go to the professional level, so my job is to give back."

She has high hopes for the new league and expects there to be a second season, perhaps with more than four teams.

"Things are coming together," she said. "My impression is, the league is taking off."

Laurie Holder, founder and director of GSE, Granite State Elite, was thrilled with the turnout and added, "GSE has placed literally hundreds of young wom­en on Division one, two and three teams and most on scholarship. And one might think of that as the greatest value – yet it is not. It is the character development that occurs when parents and coaches work in concert to help these young women become the best they can be. That is everything."