Traip Academy boys’ lacrosse coach Raphael Matty, center, watches as players run through a drill during practice in Kittery on Tuesday. The school is fielding boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams this season for the first time. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

One of the smallest schools in southern Maine has made the big move to join the varsity lacrosse ranks.

Traip Academy in Kittery is preparing for its inaugural varsity season in boys’ and girls’ lacrosse this spring. Traip becomes the smallest public school in the state with stand-alone lacrosse programs. Only private schools North Yarmouth Academy and St. Dominic Academy have enrollments fewer than Traip’s 255.

“I feel we kind of need to set the tone for the program and maybe just win a couple of games at least,” said Josie Considine, a junior on the girls’ team who has played lacrosse since the fifth grade. “And, to let people know that finally Traip is a varsity team.”

Traip has had a boys’ junior varsity team since 2017, with the girls’ program starting in earnest in 2019. If not for the coronavirus pandemic that shut down all spring sports in 2020, the boys would have debuted last season.

“So moving to varsity for the boys was kind of a no-brainer this year and, after a long conversation with the girls’ program, we decided to take a leap of faith with their program this year, too,” said Mike Roberge, Traip’s athletic director.

The varsity programs are a direct result of the Kittery Youth Lacrosse program, now in its ninth year. KYL boasts 80 to 100 total players with boys’ and girls’ teams for grades 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8. This year the organization is also offering clinics for K-2 students.

“Our main goal has come to fruition. We wanted a team at Traip so our kids could play at Traip,” said Sybil Carven, Traip’s varsity girls’ coach and the president of the youth league.

Both teams will be varsity only and will be close to the minimum number of players with about 14 on the roster. Boys’ lacrosse is a 10-person game. Girls’ lacrosse has 12 players per team.

Traip Academy girls’ lacrosse coach Sybil Carven talks to players during practice in Kittery on Tuesday. The program will make its debut with a home game against Wells on April 21. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The girls get the first game, hosting Wells on April 21, at Emery Field, which has become the program’s home. The boys are tentatively scheduled to host Lake Region the next day.

Carven and boys’ coach Raphael Matty are Kittery residents with children who have played or are still playing in the youth program. They’re confident the high school participation will increase in coming seasons.

“My son’s sixth-grade team, we have lots of boys,” Matty said. “As far as keeping the program going, I don’t need 15 new kids every single year signing up for the high school team so I’m not super worried about it.”

Meredith Chase is the lone senior on the girls’ team. She was on Traip’s 2019 Class C state championship girls’ soccer team. Many of her teammates are, like her, multisport athletes.

“I think that competitiveness definitely helps,” Chase said. “It brings that extra energy. Plus, all the girls want to be here, they want to play. We lost the season last year so everyone just has even more energy.”

The boys’ team has two seniors, Charles White and Oscar Foye.

White, who has played since the seventh grade, said being on the first Traip varsity team “means a lot. I mean, it’s pretty cool to be one of the first people to get to play varsity lacrosse at Traip.”

Foye represents another way the sport could grow. He was a baseball player from “T-ball through sophomore year,” who was talked into taking up lacrosse prior to the ill-fated 2020 season.

“I just love the physicality, the speed,” Foye said. “I fell in love with the game.”

Roberge feels Traip can support lacrosse and continue to field solid baseball, softball and outdoor track teams.

“We’re getting to the point now where we have kids with enough of an interest that they see themselves as lacrosse players,” Roberge said. “You always fear at a small school spreading things too much, but we’re more of the frame of mind that the more kids we can get to participate the better it will be.”

Traip Academy girls’ lacrosse coach Sybil Carven. left, is also president of the Kittery Youth Lacrosse program, now in its ninth year. The success of the youth program has led to Traip Academy offering varsity lacrosse for boys and girls this spring for the first time. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

High school lacrosse in Maine moved to a three-class system in 2018. Class C provides an appropriate entry point for small schools like Traip.

But this year regional scheduling is being used to shorten bus trips as a pandemic precaution. That means Traip’s 12-game regular-season schedules include established programs like the girls’ teams from Marshwood and York and schools with three-to-nearly four times Traip’s enrollment (Biddeford, Massabesic, Noble and Sanford).

It makes for a daunting test for a first-year varsity program. The Rangers are embracing the challenge.

“It’s a little intimidating but at the same time, we’re all just players so we can do our best,” Considine said. “We’ll definitely try our hardest and I do feel like we have a good team.”


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