Sports

Auburn Riverside student and Lake Tapps lacrosse player Megan Lucchesi earns all-state nod

Auburn Riverside freshman Megan Lucchesi, a member of the Lake Tapps Titan Varsity girls lacrosse team, has been chosen to represent Washington State in a national lacrosse tourney. - Charles Cortes/Reporter
Auburn Riverside freshman Megan Lucchesi, a member of the Lake Tapps Titan Varsity girls lacrosse team, has been chosen to represent Washington State in a national lacrosse tourney.
— image credit: Charles Cortes/Reporter

Megan Lucchesi can't remember a time when there wasn't a lacrosse stick in her hand.

"I probably had a stick in my hand, playing around in the back yard since first or second grade," said Lucchesi, a freshman at Auburn Riverside and a member of the Lake Tapps Lacrosse Club Titans.

Lucchesi, 15, is prepping for the national stage with a selection to the Washington State US Lacrosse Women's Division National Tournament team.

"To be considered to be at that level is a huge honor for me," she said. "It's very humbling to have been chosen to play with that team."

Lucchesi's love for Lacrosse was ignited at a young age.

Her father, Louis, was a founding member of the Lake Tapps Lacrosse Club and a collegiate player. It was his love for the sport that fostered an appreciation for lacrosse in Lucchesi, and her fellow triplets, Michael and Joey.

"I started going to clinics and camps in the second and third grade," she said. "And in the fourth grade, my dad coached the (Lake Tapps) team."

Without a local girls program to play on, Lucchesi was relegated to turning out for the boys team coached by her father.

"I loved it," she said. "I loved being able to play with my two brothers and being coached by my dad. I loved being able to be physical and playing against the fast, athletic boys."

After four years of honing her skills with the boys, the club instituted a girls program, and Lucchesi made the switch.

"It was definitely hard at first not being coached by my dad," Lucchesi said. "When I first made the switch to girls, there were a lot of restrictions with the rules. I was resistant to that at first, but as I got more familiar and watched college and high level high school games, I learned to love the woman's sport. I absolutely love it now. If you look at the higher level of lacrosse for girls, it's a very beautiful, finesse style of movement and off ball movement.

"There is a lot less physicality in the girls game, not as much checking or hitting," she continued. "There is still hitting, but the physicality in the girls game is a lot more like soccer or basketball, whereas in boys, you can get body to body and get rough and rowdy."

The drop in the physical level of play threw her at first, Lucchesi admitted.

“When I started playing with the girls, I was afraid if I did check, it would be some crazy, out of control check,” she said. “This is actually the first year that I’m testing, checking and getting a little more physical. But I’m careful because when you are called for a penalty, it’s a turnover and I’d rather keep the ball.”

Now with her adjustment to the girls game complete, Lucchesi is stepping into a leadership role on the team, despite being one of the youngest members of the squad.

“She’s actually an amazing player and leader,” said Ashley Mounts, the team’s senior goalie. “She’s passionate about the sport and always challenging herself, as well as the other girls on the team. She encourages them.”

“She’s fantastic,” said Lucchesi’s coach, Mike Rogers. “She communicates well. She’s got great stick skills. She’s worked hard all her life.”

Although the team struggled in its first season, failing to capture a victory, the Titans are on the right track in 2011 with a 3-1 record.

“We’re doing really well, considering we’re a brand new team,” Lucchesi said. “I’m excited to see this team grow as a I get older. We’re a very young team; there are only two seniors. There were only two or three experienced girls on the team. That was a little tough at first. But all these girls are athletes. It’s awesome watching them pick up the sport and doing really well.”

Lucchesi hopes to continue her career in college. Her roster spot on the state’s national team is a step in that direction.

“I’m super excited to have the opportunity to learn from the girls on that team,” she said. “I’m blessed because, even if I don’t play one minute on the field at nationals, I get to practice with the best players in the state.”

Lucchesi and the state team will compete in the national tournament May 28-29 at Stony Brook University in New York.

The Titan girls varsity team travels to Bellevue for a game Wednesday, then hosts Curtis at 6:30 p.m. next Friday at Game Farm Park.

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