Sturgis junior women's lacrosse team ends first season

The Sturgis Lacrosse organization recently formed an all girls team with the goal of creating more interest in the sport.

"We were very surprised that we had a core of 25 girls aged nine to 18 years show up ready to play this summer. It has been many years since we had a women's lacrosse team and we are very excited for the future," said Kristen Peterson, coach. Nicole Korpusik is the other coach.

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The team includes players from Sturgis, Preeceville, Norquay and Canora. Canora team members are: Methyl Trask, Jesse Kopelchuk, Makayla Heshka, Lexie Biletski, Codee Kopelchuk and Drea Beblow.

The girls had fun and learned to improve on their skills as there were no games allowed to be played this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Words can not describe how much I have enjoyed coaching this group of ladies and how proud I am of them. We put a lady’s lacrosse stick in each of their hands, we taught them the basics of the game, we ran, we laughed but most of all we had fun. This is an amazing group and I cannot wait to work with them again next year. I am so excited for the future of women’s lacrosse," said Peterson.

In the next few months the girls will have the opportunity to possibly attend one of three lacrosse camps that are scheduled for Regina, Saskatoon and possibly Yorkton.

Both coaches, Peterson and Korpusik, have a history of playing women's lacrosse for 10 plus years and each have had the opportunity to play on a provincial and national team.

Lacrosse is a traditional Native American game, which was first witnessed by Europeans when French Jesuit missionaries in the St. Lawrence Valley witnessed the game in the 1630s, stated the lacrosse website.

The games were sometimes major events that could last several days. As many as 100 to 1,000 men from opposing villages or tribes would participate. Native American lacrosse describes a broad variety of stick-and-ball games played by them. Geography and tribal customs dictated the extent to which women participated in these early games:

Lacrosse, as women play it, is an orderly pastime that has little in common with the men's tribal warfare version except the long-handled racket or crosse (stick) that gives the sport its name, continued the website information. It's true that the object in both the men's and women's lacrosse is to send a ball through a goal by means of the racket, but whereas men resort to brute strength the women depend solely on skills.

The first modern women's lacrosse game was played in 1890 at the St Leonard’s School in Scotland, where women's lacrosse had been introduced by Louisa Lumsden. Lumsden brought the game to Scotland after watching a men's lacrosse game between the Canghuwaya (probably Caughnawaga) Indians and the Montreal Lacrosse Club. A British school teacher, Cara Gascoigne, at Sweet Briar College, started club lacrosse at that college in 1914. One of Lumsden's students, Rosabelle Sinclair, established the first women's lacrosse team in the United States at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland in 1926. The first women's intercollegiate game was held between Sweet Briar College and The College of William and Mary in 1941.

Until the mid-1930s, women's and men's field lacrosse were played under virtually the same rules, with no protective equipment. In the United States, the formation of the U.S. Women's Lacrosse Association led to a change in these rules.