“Lacrosse treasure” leading Parks & Rec. girls’ spring lacrosse

Mary McCarthy Stefano of the Moorestown Parks and Recreation Department has been running the girls’ lacrosse program for the past 13 years — nine of which as a volunteer.

By: Amy Filippone, Dept. of Parks & Recreation

Moorestown Parks and Recreation is offering girls’ spring lacrosse for second and third grades starting on March 7 through Sunday, May 4. Mary McCarthy Stefano of the Moorestown Parks and Recreation Department has been running the girls’ lacrosse program for the past 13 years — nine of which as a volunteer.

McCarthy Stefano is a Moorestown lacrosse treasure. She started playing lacrosse as a seventh grader at Moorestown Middle School. She went to Penn State on a full athletic scholarship, was a starter for all four years and was a three-time All-American player in lacrosse and two-time in field hockey. While at Penn State, both the field hockey and lacrosse teams made eight straight NCAA appearances and won the National Championship in lacrosse in 1987. McCarthy Stefano went on to play for the U.S. Lacrosse Team for 10 years during which time they won two World Cups: one in Australia and one in Scotland. She was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2010. Her number 8 jersey was retired from Moorestown High School in 2014.

We are so fortunate to have this caliber of talent to introduce lacrosse to any girl’s sports life. It is at this critical juncture where a strong foundation is built and a love for the game is discovered. Lacrosse can be challenging to learn.

“It’s not an easy game and can be frustrating,” McCarthy Stefano said. “You really have to make it fun for the kids. The basic skills are difficult to master, and it can take at least a season to learn the basic skills.”

Each team will have a practice on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. where they learn throwing, catching, cradling and how to pick up the ball. On Sundays from 12:30 to 2 p.m. there will be intramural games. Both sessions take place at Wesley Bishop Park Lower Turf Field on North Church Street.

The two grades are blended which adds an extra level of support.

“You can see a big difference between the first year and the second, and we mix them so it’s the second and third graders playing together so the third graders help the second graders,” McCarthy Stefano said.

Volunteer coaches are needed, and it’s a very low commitment. Coaches need to be at matches on Sunday at a minimum.

“If they can make it to practice on Wednesday, that’s great. Otherwise, we’ll take care of covering their practices,” McCarthy Stefano said. “I’m there on Wednesdays. We all practice together, so if a coach can’t be there or gets there a little late, that’s fine. We’ll warm up the kids together, and they can hop in when they get there. I’ll go around and help the coaches with the drills.”

It’s really a three-hour per week commitment. The Parks & Rec. Department does all the organizing.

“All they have to do is show up,” McCarthy Stefano said. “We have all the equipment there.”

This would be a great opportunity to make three hours of your week very rewarding.

Come out and be part of this deeply routed Moorestown tradition. The only equipment needed is a mouthpiece, goggles and sneakers or non-metal cleats. All other equipment, including lacrosse sticks and balls, will be provided by the Rec Department. Space is limited to 52 players so register soon. Go to www.moorestownrec.com for full details and to sign up players and coaches.