CHESTERTON | To say Andrea Peck has taken an immediate liking to lacrosse is an understatement.
"Are you kidding me?" Peck responded when asked why she abandoned volleyball after giving lacrosse a try about a year ago. "I love this sport. This is the life."
So far this fall season, life has been good for Peck and her Chesterton Lacrosse girls junior varsity team, which consists of prep underclass players from Porter and Lake counties.
After suffering its first loss of the 7-on-7 season, 17-5 in the first game of a doubleheader against Penn on Oct. 12 at Dogwood Park, Chesterton (6-1) rebounded in the second game, coming back from a first-half deficit to win 13-12.
"We played a zone defense in the first game before switching to man-to-man in the second," Chesterton assistant coach Dan Sherman said. "(Penn) is a physical team, but our girls responded well to the challenge."
Peck and Jade Kaurich were the leading scorers for Chesterton in the second game. Kaurich's goal during the final two minutes of regulation put Chesterton up for good.
Chesterton goalie Abbey Voss stopped a pair of point-blank shots in the final seconds to preserve the win. The Crown Point native has been playing lacrosse for three years but just recently moved from midfield to goalie.
"I've been in that position before," she said. "It was a tournament game, and I had to stop a last-second shot then. "You just got to stay focused and know your defense it there to back you up."
Chesterton Lacrosse, which also fields a middle school girls team and a boys program, is approaching the end of the fall season. The junior varsity girls will participate in a pair of tournaments the next two weekends before packing it up for the winter.
"The spring season is the real lacrosse season," said Mark Kezy, who founded Chesterton Lacrosse (then called Duneland Lacrosse) two years ago. "That's when the college season is played, and that's where we go 12-on-12 on a bigger field."
Regarded as North America's oldest sport with origins dating back to the 12th century, Kezy says that lacrosse is enjoying a regional renaissance.
"When we first started, we only had 12 girls," Kezy said. "It took a lot of work for our players to get where they're at right now."
With a youth lacrosse program forming in Crown Point for next spring, Kezy anticipates he will lose some Lake County players.
"But it shows that the sport is catching on," Kezy said. "I'm sure that we can get more players (from Porter County) once they give it a try.
"We may have a way to go before we reach Illinois' level as the sport is more established over there, but we're getting there."