Saturday Sports: Traveling girls’ lacrosse team tries to make season work

ADAMS, N.Y. (WWNY) - Last week, we introduced you to a girls’ traveling softball team, the NNY Misfits, who managed to salvage their summer travel season during COVID-19.

This week, we meet a traveling lacrosse team that has had a harder time getting games in, but like the Misfits, feels fortunate to be back on the field.

The Lake Effect Storm Elite Lacrosse Team is a travel team comprised of girls from South Jefferson, Watertown, General Brown, and Indian River.

During a normal summer, the team would be traveling the Northeast, competing in tournaments against some of the best players in the country. But this year has been anything but normal for Coach Mike Burdick’s team.

”Typically in years past, we’ve traveled for the summertime, we’ve traveled to 5 tournaments. One we use as a tuneup tournament in Tully, New York. The rest are in PA, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts. So it’s been kind of a really weird year and odd year that we haven’t been able to get out and do our normal thing,” said Burdick.

The team has managed to play in two tournaments this year, getting in 7 games, along with a couple of play days for a total of 20 games. They are contests Burdick says are important to the girls’ development.

”In any sport, if you’re not doing it 11-12 months out of the year, you’re gonna fall behind, you know? So it would have been detrimental really to our growth and our progress that we’ve shown over the past. You know, really 10 years this group has been together, so I mean it would have been detrimental had we not been able to have the opportunity to play,” said Burdick.

While the team has continued to practice, the players say it’s been a challenging season on a number of levels.

”It’s been challenging knowing that it’s my senior year and this summer’s been kind of ruined. It was kind of my chance to be able to see colleges and be able to talk to people at tournaments, but I’m just working through it and trying to do my best,” said South Jefferson student Desiree Koberger.

”It’s been challenging knowing that we can’t do contact, but we’ve like, managed to work with it, and like, be separated and just do like the dynamics,” said General Brown’s Megan Milkowich.

”It’s been pretty hard. We’ve just, like, we lost our whole season. A lot of us depend on each other to have social interaction. That’s kind of been hard, but I think we’ve all done pretty well with it. It is heartbreaking, we’ve tried to grow,” said Mallory Marks of General Brown.

And Burdick says through this he has seen the girls grow both as players and individuals and is most impressed with their mental toughness at such a young age.

”They could have very easily buried their head in the sand and said ’Okay, I’m done. We’re defeated.‘ And just left it at that, but they didn’t. They dug deep and we have 100% commitment each and every practice, each and every tournament, so kudos to them,” said Burdick.

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