TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 9/22/18
From Press Release
The Minnesota Elite Girls’ Lacrosse Club players were introduced to their very first box lacrosse training last week! Now in it’s 9th year, the Club aims to develop top national lacrosse players and has elite travel teams for girls in 3-12th grades. A Non-Profit organization, the second aspect of its mission is to grow the sport in the Midwest through coach and player clinics.
A Philadelphia native, Club Director Maria Longley Slusser comments, “We are super excited to introduce our players to the box game to help us in all the areas we need to improve. We want our girls to play like our counterparts in the hotbed areas of Baltimore and Long Island.”
To do that, Minnesota Elite hired Ryan Ward as its Director of Box Lacrosse. Ryan Ward is a former professional Canadian box lacrosse standout. Among other accomplishments, Ryan was a member of the 2006 Gold Medal winning Team Canada in the World Lacrosse Championships, a former member of the Philadelphia Wings (NLL), an Edmonton Rush Franchise Points Leader and a 2X National Lacrosse League All-Star selection. Ryan Ward is also the Varsity Coach for Eden Prairie High School boys’ lacrosse, where he led the team to two Minnesota State High School Championships.
Minnesota Elite is training its 7-12th graders in box lacrosse at Soccer Blast facility in Burnsville, MN, which has two indoor box lacrosse fields. The club is providing its members with full box equipment to ensure that everyone plays with authentic box lacrosse gear. The girls are also playing with boys’ lacrosse sticks, which have a much deeper pocket.
In addition to the hidden conditioning aspect of box lacrosse, Ryan Ward comments, “The girls get comfortable with contact and maintaining possession of the ball. The tighter space forces them to make quicker decisions and more accurate passes. The smaller goals and larger goalies force them to aim their shots versus chucking it in the general direction of a 6’X6’ goal.”
Ryan notes that teaching girls is different. “Although I have over 30 years of box lacrosse experience with boys, this was my first time coaching girls’ box lacrosse. I was very impressed with their willingness to gear up and compete. They seem to pick up 5v5 offense better than first-time boy players as the girls are used to cycling and ball cutting, and coming off picks.”
The high school teams practiced last week, and this weekend the middle school girls will be donning their box lacrosse gear for the first time on Sunday, September 23, from 12:00-4:00pm at Soccer Blast (3601 W 145th St, Burnsville, MN 55306.)
Director of Box Lacrosse Ryan Ward comments, “The girls’ stick skills were way better than I expected, and that is attributed to MN Elite having the best girls’ lacrosse players in the state. They adjusted to the deeper pockets pretty quickly.” Many of the MN Elite Girls’ Lacrosse members are ice hockey players and are comfortable in full gear. Others are getting used to the helmets and protective padding. Club Director Maria Longley Slusser remarks, “The girls are having a blast playing with box rules, which allow them to run through the crease and no shooting space calls, all in a fast-paced 5v5 format!”