The La Cañada High girls' lacrosse team will finally have a league to call home for the spring season.
The girls' lacrosse program has grown steadily at La Cañada since it first began in 2006. In 2007, the team was sanctioned by the CIF, and now there are varsity, junior varsity and middle-school squads at La Cañada High.
The Spartans lacrosse team will compete in the Prep League this year against Westridge, Chadwick and Glendale, which just had its program sanctioned in November.
"We are pleased Glendale has gone CIF because that's the catalyst we needed to form our own league," La Cañada Coach Alison Dodson said.
It wouldn't surprise Dotson if more local high school lacrosse teams started sprouting up.
"People grow up on lacrosse on the East Coast," Dotson said. "It's just taken awhile to get over here on the West Coast, but it is the fastest growing sport on the West Coast — it's just exploded."
The Spartans have gone 32-16 the past three seasons, including an 11-3 run last year, and Dotson isn't expecting any hiccups in La Cañada's first season in the Prep League.
"We are returning nearly our entire team from last year, so we expect to do quite well," said Dotson, who returns her top four goal scorers from last year: seniors Hannah Peitzman (38 goals), Lucy Dodson — Alison's daughter — (35), C. Lopez (33) and Lauren McClelland (27). The same four players are expected to fuel the Spartans again this year.
"We had four goal scorers who scored a lot of goals last year," Dotson said. "It's not just one girl. I really believe if you only have one really strong player and if they get knocked out, then you're done."
Still, Dotson shies away from making any predictions on how La Cañada will do this season.
"We just want to do the best we can and finish on a high note," she said. "We'll take it a game at a time. We have a tough schedule ahead for us."
With 11 seniors on the roster, the Spartans are equipped with the experience to make it through their season. Most of those seniors have been playing lacrosse together at La Cañada since they were in middle school. Those five years of experience have balanced La Cañada's roster and provided plenty of team chemistry, Dotson said.
"We are a good, cohesive team. Our strength isn't our offense, defense or midfield. The whole squad just plays together," Dotson said.