Middle School Lacrosse Wins Their First-Ever Game


Middle School Lacrosse team day of win! Anthony Yang (Hayden Y. ’28 Father)

On October 27th, 2022, the Middle School lacrosse team won their first-ever game since the program started two years ago. The Middle School Lacrosse Program, coached by Human Development Coordinator Emily Mukai and Upper School History Teacher Jennifer Cutler, was started in 2021 with a small team of 10 players. That season, the team played three games and lost all of them. 

This year, the team grew to 18 players. During a game against Rosemont Middle School on Frank Field, the Westridge Tigers led 7-0 in the first half of the game. The final score was 10-5. 

The team celebrated with donuts provided by parents. One player, Abby Y. ’27, said, “It

felt amazing to win because it was the first time Westridge had ever won a middle school game. I hope this achievement will inspire more people to join lacrosse in middle school.”

Coach Mukai explained that she doesn’t like looking at the results of games simply as a win or loss because it takes away from the quality of the game. Instead, she encourages the team to focus on the work that influences the outcome rather than just the results. But Coach Mukai said, “While I don’t necessarily focus on wins, it felt pretty good, and I was pretty excited for that win.”

When beginning the program, one of the biggest challenges was first establishing it as a sport at Westridge and then raising excitement about the program among students. Since many schools within the Independent Pasadena School League don’t have lacrosse in their middle school program, Westridge Middle School Lacrosse only plays against Rosemont and La Canada Middle School. 

Another challenge is that many families and students aren’t familiar with lacrosse, so it is not uncommon for most players on the team to have never picked up a lacrosse stick before. A current lacrosse player in the middle school team, Layla R. ’27, explained that when she first started lacrosse in 2021, it was difficult and confusing since lacrosse uses unique movements that aren’t seen in other sports. Despite the fact that many players come to the team with little to no experience, they still enjoy the experience of participating because of the welcoming environment created by the coaches and other players. 

Layla said, “It was really fun playing on the lacrosse team because everyone was learning at the same time because literally everyone was new to it, so no one knew what they were doing—so it was a weird but fun experience.” Layla also mentioned that she enjoys the way the coaches have taught her the sport and that she hopes to play at the college level in the future. 

Coach Cutler said, “Emily is the best coach I’ve ever seen—her ability to break down the fundamentals, and the way she teaches stuff I don’t even know. I’m in awe of her.”

Coach Mukai and Coach Cutler hope to grow the Middle School program and get more players that have lacrosse as their primary sport. 

“I’m very impressed with the group this year. They again far exceeded my expectations,” said Coach Mukai.