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Folsom Lacrosse Association offers seven teams to youth

By: by Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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Participation is up and lacrosse continues to grow in Folsom.

Since 1996, the Folsom Lacrosse Association, a 501(c)(3) public charity and lacrosse club, has grown to include seven teams, including a recently added U9 age group and a total of 153 registered players.

As a new season gets underway, the program fields U9, U11, U13, U15, boys’ JV and boys’ and girls’ varsity teams.

A number of accolades have been awarded to the club, but maybe none more so than a 25 percent increase and growth in young athletes wanting to play lacrosse.

“We have a wonderful group of coaches, many of which have played college lacrosse. This is something we didn’t have until recently. As a result, the skill level of our players and our competitiveness is increasing rapidly,” said Keith Schaal, FLA vice president.

In her second year as the girls’ varsity head coach, Rebecca Hintz’s collegiate lacrosse experience contributes to the rapid increase in the club.

A native of Orangevale and instrumental in developing a lacrosse team at Bella Vista, Hintz played three years for Bella Vista from 2004-2006 and another four at San Diego State. She then coached a year at SDSU and various clubs in San Diego before making the transition to Folsom.

“When I moved back up here I was just so shocked at how big the sport had gotten since I left, especially here with Folsom Lacrosse,” said Hintz.

Not only in numbers, but FLA has grown in success recently as well.

The boys’ JV team took second place in the Northern California Junior Lacrosse Association club play last season, losing by one goal to Chico. The U15 team went 16-4 last year and won its division.

The girls’ varsity squad jumped from 15 players last season to 21 currently. Players are in eighth to 12th grades and range from years of experience to their first season playing lacrosse.

A veteran of the club, Alatna Walsh, a Roseville High senior and captain of the varsity team, entered her third year with the club, sixth year of lacrosse.

Among the two choices of girls’ varsity lacrosse club teams in the area – the only other being Orangevale Rams Lacrosse Club – Walsh picked up a lacrosse stick in physical education class in junior high and hasn’t put it down since.

“I fell in love right away,” said Walsh. “We have been everywhere; tournaments, we travel a lot including Chico, Redding, Stockton. I’m really sad it’s my last year here. Last year’s final game was against my rival team Orangevale and we rocked it. We played as a team and it’s the time I can remember where everybody was happy with how they played.”

Walsh reveled in the experience of both her coaches, Hintz and Kelly Olney, who also played college lacrosse.

Practices have started and the season runs through late April or early May, depending upon the high school teams’ success in playoffs.