Double-crossed - New girls lacrosse team achieving more than goals

Middle-school girls running up and down a field of unkempt grass while trying not to slip or lose the ball is a common sight during the fall soccer season.

In spring, however, the sport that is now garnering popularity among young athletes is lacrosse. The team on the field is the Northeast Middle School Girls Lacrosse team; members call themselves Doublecrosse. They are working hard at practice even though they don't have another game for nearly two weeks and they beat the Tacoma team 11-3 the night before.

"The girls are very dedicated, they all have full plates with school and some of them are involved with other teams, too," said Doug Carmichael, co-manager and parent of one of the girls.

Few available teams

This is Doublecrosse's first season, and it is one of only two teams open to the community that are not affiliated with a public school; the other is Queen Anne's team.

Carmichael and his co-manager, Tizzy Bennet Harbaugh, who also has a daughter on the field, created the team.

Carmichael and Harbaugh thought about the idea of a new girls lacrosse team when their daughters went to a sports clinic and fell in love with the sport. Harbaugh, who coaches a girls soccer team called the Northern Flickers, had been interested in finding a new spring team sport for the girls for quite some time.

"She spearheaded this whole thing, and it has been fun ever since," Carmichael said.

"I was told by another soccer coach how elegant, fun and exciting lacrosse is, and those three words really stuck with me," Harbaugh said.

After that came the hard work. The two parents needed to find a coach, equipment, uniforms, a field and, most importantly, a group of girls interested in playing the unfamiliar sport.

"With lacrosse, there is a much less developed infrastructure," Harbaugh said. "Thankfully, everybody in the lacrosse community has been so friendly and helpful."

The commitment

Much to Harbaugh's surprise, many girls were interested in the sport, and the selection had to be made on a first-come, first-served basis. "We just put the word out in the community, and it was great how many girls were interested," she said.

They ended up with 21 girls ranging in age from 12 to 14, with most of them from Eckstein Middle School in North Seattle. The girls are all new to the game, but many of them have experience with other sports like soccer.

Finding coaches to teach the beginners also came easier than expected for the co-managers. Carmichael went to Nathan Hale High School's girls lacrosse team and asked for volunteers. Two varsity players volunteered: senior Anjali Riddick and junior Rosebud Kling. The two young women turned out to be a perfect match for the team.

"We've fallen in love with coaching and this group of girls," Riddick said. "The girls are dedicated and respectful of their teammates, themselves, other teams and the officials. We're so proud of them."

The two coaches have had to be dedicated themselves, volunteering a lot of their time. "They have to juggle their practices and games and our practices and games," Carmichael said.

"They've shown tremendous commitment," Harbaugh added.

Team bond

The girls, filled with excitement about their soon-to-be arriving team sweats, are eager to comment on themselves and their coaches.

As they begin to talk, it is clear they have a general consensus about their coaches: They couldn't be any happier with them. Being able to relate to them better than to other coaches they've had in the past is due to the narrow age gap, according to the girls.

"It's nice because they know what it's like, and they understand when you can't make a practice," said 13-year-old Angie.

"They're really organized too; they had ev-erything planned out on the first day," 13-year-old Mallory added.

The bond between the girls and the coaches seems to have accounted for a successful first season so far. Doublecrosse is currently 2-2, but to them, the numbers aren't as important as having fun while learning how to play the game the right way.

"It's really rewarding as a parent to see the kids develop," Carmichael said.

Harbaugh agrees: "I love being a bridge-builder, taking the time to make this possible for the girls. I can't imagine anything better."

Next match

The team is currently on spring break but will be back in action on Tuesday, April 19, against Snohomish at Eckstein Middle School, 3003 N.E. 75th St. For more information, visit or www.wslax. org.[[In-content Ad]]