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There's a new game in town
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South Effingham's Natalie Easterling (15) looks to pass after collecting the ball during Thursday's game against Richmond Hill at the Sand Hill Complex. - photo by Photo by Birk Herrath
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Coach Christine Knapp gives instructions to her team during halftime of Thursday's game against Richmond Hill. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
The kids have been begging for at least three years to have a team.
Christine Knapp, Lady Mustangs lacrosse coach

GUYTON — Christine Knapp has all the makings of a successful lacrosse program. She’s got 17 players, equipment, uniforms and coaching experience.

“I grew up in Upstate New York so I grew up with lacrosse,” said Knapp, head coach of South Effingham’s fledgling girls lacrosse team. 

Knapp and her husband have built lacrosse programs from scratch before. They helped start a youth league in Cherokee County and worked to establish a team at Cuthbertson High School in Waxhaw, N.C.

The key ingredient to building a lacrosse team is player interest, Knapp said. She has he plenty of that at South Effingham.

“The kids have been begging for at least three years to have a team,” Knapp said. “Our issue has been field space because we don’t have  the extra field space at South Effingham.”

The Lady Mustangs practice and play home games at the Sand Hill Complex. Their Saturday practices start at 8 a.m.

“I hope room (on campus) will be made for us,” Knapp said. “I know Mr. (Jeff) Faith, our athletic director, is trying to figure something out so that we can use our stadium. The problem that we have is the goal. It digs up the grass a lot because of the way the goalie moves.

“We’ve got to figure out a way not to ruin the football field so that football can have it and soccer can have it as well.”

Knapp said she is grateful for the Sand Hill fields and that they are working out well for her team.

  The Lady Mustangs practiced for about a month before playing their first game Thursday against Richmond Hill at Sand Hill. They lost but turned in a solid effort.

“I was very impressed with the girls,” Knapp said. “I expected more penalties, more offsides. We only had one penalty and one offsides.”

Knapp said the Lady Wildcats players offered her team pointers throughout the contest.

“That’s true sportsmanship,” she said. “We were very impressed with them.”

“None of Knapp’s players have lacrosse experience. Still, they are showing a knack for the game, especially some who are also cheerleaders.

“In my experience, it’s usually the cheerleaders who do come out and play lacrosse,” Knapp said. “They are very aggressive. In North Carolina, I had a lot of cheerleaders — I also coach game cheer — who loved it.

“It’s a great offseason workout.”

Knapp said the most difficult lacrosse skill to develop is making and catching deft passes.

“It’s learning how to catch and learning how to throw properly, and learning how to scoop the ball when it lands on the ground, because — believe it or not — there are rules about that, too,” she said.

Lacrosse at South Effingham is currently a club sport. The Lady Mustangs, however, are aiming to compete in the GHSA next year.

“Everything is in place,” Knapp said.