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Feature: JV Lax Coach & Athletic Director Ruggieri

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Maevis Fahey '21, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

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This spring season, Montrose has welcomed Coach (and Montrose Athletic Director) Julie Ruggieri as our second junior varsity lacrosse coach. Along with Coach Blabac, Coach Ruggieri leads all junior varsity practices throughout the week with excitement and zeal. With her extensive background in lacrosse, Coach Ruggieri offers a perfect combination of expertise and encouragement. In this interview, Coach explains the place sports like lacrosse have held in her life, and how they continue to shape her coaching at Montrose today.

When did you start playing lacrosse? How long did you play?

I started playing lacrosse in 6th grade for my middle school team. I actually played goalie for 6th & 7th grade and then switched to being a field player in 8th grade. I played through my senior year of high school. We won the Rhode Island State Championship all four years of my high school career, which was pretty amazing. I went on and played intramural lacrosse in college with a few of my friends.

Do you have any special memories about your past coaches in lacrosse or in other sports? How do you think they have impacted you to this day?

My high school basketball coach was one of the best coaches I had growing up. He created a team environment where his players respected him, and he always had a great balance between intensity and encouragement/fun. My first two years on the team we were not very good. However, through those losses I learned the importance of hard work, perseverance, and never giving up. Through his positive attitude and passion, by my senior year we won the state championship! I try to carry over a lot of the lessons he taught me to the girls I coach.

Do you have any memories from your own lacrosse tryouts in the past?

The only memories I have from high school lacrosse tryouts is being sore and tired! It was definitely an intense few days, but I loved every second of it.

How did you view your coaches when you were an athlete? Has that view changed now that you are a coach?

In high school, I thought that coaching looked so easy. My view on that has definitely changed, thanks to my college field hockey coach. I realized how much time, dedication, and commitment it took to try and build a championship program while making sure all of your players had a positive experience. Right after graduate school, I worked at an all-girls school in New York City for 3 years where I was the varsity field hockey, squash, and lacrosse coach. It wasn’t until I became a coach that I realized the importance of keeping a balance of hard work and fun, which is what I continually try and do here at Montrose.

How do you think sports and the sport of lacrosse help/impact girls?

I would not be the person I am today if I did not play high school sports. Through sports, girls learn important life skills such as teamwork, leadership and confidence. I also loved the social aspect of playing sports in high school. This was a time outside of the classroom that I got to hang out with my best friends while also making friends from different grades. The team dinners, bus rides, and times spent with my teammates are some of the things I cherish the most.

What do you most love about lacrosse?

One of the things I love most about lacrosse is that it is exciting and fast paced. I also love the lacrosse culture and all the different skills and tactics used in the game.

What do you look forward to the most in the coming season for JV and Varsity lacrosse?

One of the things I am looking forward to the most is WARM WEATHER! Lacrosse season always reminds me of the start of spring and getting out in the sunshine. I am very excited for our varsity lacrosse girls as they started their season 2-0 with big wins over Lexington Christian Academy and Beaver Country Day School. They have a challenging non-league schedule this year, and it is amazing to see them compete with them and make a name for our small school.

For JV lacrosse, I am so excited that we have 27 girls interested in learning lacrosse or further developing their skills. This means that our varsity program could have a very promising future if the JV players continue to work hard. I am excited for all the girls on the team to experience playing in games and having fun.

What would you say to an athlete who is new to the sport, or has ever felt discouraged because of lack of experience?

It is very easy to feel discouraged if you are new to any sport. My one piece of advice is to not give up and to push through that uncomfortable feeling. When I switched from lacrosse goalkeeper to field player in 8th grade, my stick skills were not on the level of girls who had been playing for the past two years. So I went home every single day to my backyard and worked on my stick skills. I played wall ball for hours by myself to sharpen my right and left hand. I asked my coach questions and went to a lacrosse camp over the summer in 8th grade. By my freshman year of high school, I was a starter on the varsity team. If you put the time and effort into practicing, I promise you will get better!

As we delve into the spring season, the JV lacrosse team learns skills and lessons from Coach Ruggieri that will serve us long after the season is over. Be sure to talk to Coach Ruggieri about her newly implemented team, the Montrose Athletic Advisory Council, and how you can get involved. Keep up with the varsity and junior varsity teams, and make sure to head to home games! There, you will find Coach Blabac and Coach Ruggieri working alongside your fellow Montrosians in red to bring the best lacrosse season yet.

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Feature: JV Lax Coach & Athletic Director Ruggieri