Late Night Lacrosse, Anyone?

The North Allegheny Girls' Lacrosse Team participated in an all-night tournament this past weekend.

One+of+North+Allegheny%27s+two+teams+competes+against+Peters+Township.

photo by Kristen Kinzler

One of North Allegheny's two teams competes against Peters Township.

Kristen Kinzler, Junior Class Editor

At 9:30 PM this past Friday night at Southpointe Fieldhouse, an obnoxious air horn sounded off. It signaled the beginning of what was to be a long night. The clocks began ticking. The sticks started clashing. And it all continued until 4AM.

The Frozen Frenzy Girls’ Lacrosse Tournament is an annual event that runs throughout the night. While a few other sports like softball or soccer occasionally have all-night festivities, they are particularly common in the lacrosse community. Last year, the North Allegheny lacrosse team made it to the championship game and earned 2nd place overall.

This weekend, the North Allegheny Girls’ Lacrosse Team had two groups participating at the tournament: NA1 and NA2.

Before the games began for the Tigers, junior midfielder Chloe Winkworth was mentally preparing.

“I’m so excited,” Winkworth said. “I’m a bit nervous, too, but the team’s been playing so good lately.”

The players had been attending optional conditioning practices, in addition to a few Sunday scrimmages, but Friday was one of their first chances to see it all come together.

Josie Barton, a senior and one of the team’s three captains, said, “It’s good to see everyone come together and see how they fit in. It’s a great way to prepare for the season.”

The NA1 team started out strong, defeating Latrobe, 18-3. NA2 played next and suffered a hard-fought loss to Bethel Park.

In between the games, the girls got some rest and food in order to keep their energy up.

“It’s great team bonding,” beamed junior captain Katie Oates. “It’s just something different. You don’t feel tired until about 1 AM. Then, it hits you.”

NA1’s next game against Peters Township was much closer and more aggressive. The Tigers managed to pull out a 7-6 win. Junior captain Skye DePrado scored the winning goal after beautifully dodging a couple of defenders. This play didn’t feel like anything new to most of her teammates. After all, DePrado had just announced her commitment to play Division I lacrosse at Central Michigan University earlier that day.

NA2 played a different Peters team, and, unfortunately, fell short of a win.

A one-hour break around midnight shortly followed, and the sleep deprivation was starting to sink in. Some players wrapped themselves in blankets and rested their heads on their backpacks, while a few other girls tried to stay awake by chugging energy drinks and playing arcade games.

“It just throws off the timing for everyone,” Head Coach Harry Datz said.

Goalie Thomas Barrante had mixed feelings on the timing of the tournament.

“I usually go to bed early, so it’s hard sometimes,” Barrante said. “But it’s definitely fun to stay up all night with your teammates.”

At 1 AM, NA2 played Canon-McMillan and lost, 13-6. Right after, NA1 took on Upper Saint Clair— the same team that eliminated the Tigers from WPIAL Quarterfinals last season. Though the majority of the game remained close, Upper Saint Clair eventually defeated NA, 13-6.

Both teams played again at 3 AM. NA1 defeated South Fayette, 8-2, and NA2 lost to Hampton. Unfortunately, NA1’s record was not enough to send them to the playoffs this year. They finished the night 3-1, and most players got home around 4:00 that morning.

Although the tournament does provide good competition, Datz clarified that the games aren’t always an accurate representation of what season holds.

“It builds skills, and it teaches a closer game,” he said. “But a lot of teams are playing without some players they’d normally rely on due to other commitments.”

One thing that is certain about this spring season is that the players are faced with overcoming the loss of eight seniors who graduated last year.

“It’s like a new beginning,” Barton said. “But we have a lot of new people with a lot of potential.”

Two of the graduates last year were former team captains, Brooke Ferringer and Paige Jones.

“It’s going to be hard to fill their shoes. It’s a lot of stress,” Oates said. “But I feel confident that we can do it. Our team has so much more depth now.”

DePrado added, “Suddenly being a captain is hard because a lot of people are looking up to you for certain things, but we’re going to try our hardest to make it an amazing season.”

While losing so many of its defining players was a loss to the team, Datz isn’t worried about the competitive fire the Tigers continue to bring to the field. 

“I think we’re staying within the same scheme. We’re just going to elevate the skill level,” Datz said. “We have the depth to recover, and the new rules this year are definitely working in our favor.”

So, no matter the results of the tournament, both teams had a fun night, and they couldn’t be more excited for this spring.

The girls’ lacrosse season begins on March 2nd with tryouts, and the first game is on March 20th. You can view the full schedule here.