Katy Magazine, Oct/Nov 2016
Written by Gail G. Collins
There are currently two Katy lacrosse clubs: Katy Cavaliers, a Division II team, which merged with other clubs in recent years, and Seven Lakes Lacrosse, playing in Division I. The Cavaliers offer youth programs from kindergarten through high school plus girls’ teams of all ages.
When Kai Knight-Turcan moved from Canada to Texas at age 14, he brought his love of lacrosse with him. Building on seven years of the sport, he continued through high school and went on to play for Southwestern University. “Lacrosse is growing exponentially in Texas and nationwide,” he says.
Kurt Knight-Turcan’s sons play lacrosse and he now oversees fiduciary duties for Seven Lakes Lacrosse. “They love to have a stick in their hands,” he adds.
Seven Lakes player Jackson Brattain plays defense as a junior in his eighth year of lacrosse. He loves the fast-paced competition, requiring hundreds of practice hours. When matched against a serious attackman, he says, “I understand the time and effort that level of play requires, and playing against them makes me even better.”
At 17, Mason Prey has played lacrosse since sixth grade as a midfielder and attacker. Like others, he shifted from soccer or football. “I never had the same excited anticipation to play until I made the switch to lacrosse,” he says. This past season, they won their first game on their home field, and the locker room went wild.
Garrett Broussard, team captain for the Katy Cavaliers, is a seven-year midfielder. He loves the intensity and physicality. “It’s a skill sport and huge mental game with strategy, endurance, and speed,” he says.
Rebecca Hafner’s son, Nat, played for eight years, expanding his social sphere beyond Taylor High School. Seeing it as an alternative to football, she adds, “If a young man does play football, it’s a great off-season sport to keep him in shape while minimizing injury risks.”
The combination of skill, power, and strategy engages players. The sport is a combination of football’s physical aspects, soccer’s field of play and hockey’s stick skills. The basic gear includes helmets, shoulder and elbow pads, gloves, and a stick with a net head. The hour-long, continuous play keeps kids running and goal-scoring exciting. Newcomers are always welcome.
Ryan Villareal coaches high school boys for Seven Lakes Lacrosse. “I have a passion for watching kids develop—boys become men quickly,” he says. “They are ripe for a good role model.” Teams engage in six days of formal play with one or two games per week in season. Practices strengthen fundamentals, expand to creative drills and situational moves, and close with scrimmage play. Overall, the family of players and parents builds a support system that Villareal finds humbling.
“One of the best things about lacrosse is that size doesn’t matter—it’s all about the athleticism of the kid,” says Andrew Gaston, coach for Cavaliers’ high school boys’ team.
Cynthia Juntti keeps stats for the high school Lady Cavaliers. The team went undefeated in district play for the most successful year ever. Kathryn Juntti has played defense for six years and remembers her championship game with the Lady Cavs. “The other team was tall and impressive,” she says, “and in the huddle, the coach reminded us of what a great chance it was to play at such a high level.” The gals took a deep breath, took it all in and placed 2nd in the state. KM
Gail G. Collins writes internationally for magazines with three books on life abroad and believes writing is the perfect excuse to learn about the world.