Sticks and Stones

Tempers flare on social media prior to pivotal lacrosse match up

The+Varsity+Women%27s+Lacrosse+team+and+their+two+co-coaches%2C+Ms.+Emily+Metz+and+Ms.+Claire+Zagrodzky%2C+pose+for+a+picture+on+Senior+Night+for+Women%27s+Lacrosse.

Photo: Gina Addison

The Varsity Women’s Lacrosse team and their two co-coaches, Ms. Emily Metz and Ms. Claire Zagrodzky, pose for a picture on Senior Night for Women’s Lacrosse.

Tensions are rising over the St. George’s women’s lacrosse game tonight as the Gryphons prepare to take on one of their toughest opponents yet in the Collierville High School Dragons.

Tuesday morning Collierville High School students and supporters took to the St. George’s Independent School women’s lacrosse Instagram page, @sgisgirlslax, to trash-talk prior to the 6:00 p.m. game, leaving close to 100 comments – nearly all of which were aimed at provoking the Gryphons squad.

Players on the St. George’s team have said that while they were already excited for the pivotal district game, the comments left on social media have provided extra motivation.

“I was ready to go play and do what we have been doing. But now it has gotten to the point where it is low-key harassment,” senior attacker Ella Sykes said. “I am ready to show them who is the bigger team and the better team. It made me more pumped.”

Assistant coach Ms. Emily Metz said that while the conduct she’s seen from Collierville supporters on social media has been disappointing, she’s excited for the opportunity for her players to represent St. George’s in the best way possible.

“There’s some motivation to be their best selves tonight and to show up as genuinely who we are as a team and to know we are gonna let our skills be what they are,” Ms. Metz said. “As a coach, it’s definitely disappointing to see another school’s students not practicing the same ideals we hold our students to. But at the same time, it’s a motivator. It’s a driver for us to best represent St. George’s and to just play our game.”

Athletic Director Mr. Tom Densford declined to make specific comments about the situation on Instagram without knowing more information, but he did tell the Lodge that he asked junior defender Bess White, who also manages the women’s lacrosse Instagram, to turn off comments on the original post.

The comments were turned off around 11 a.m. starting on the account’s “Gameday” post, but commenters from Collierville quickly migrated to other posts on the page, and eventually both Ms. Metz and Mr. Densford recommended turning off comments for the whole account.

Despite the pervasiveness of the ire from the Dragons and their supporters on social media, senior attacker Maggie Wilson said that she was not aware of the situation, and is not worried about Collierville’s squad getting aggressive in tonight’s game.

“I think we’re a good matchup, but I didn’t know that they were being all, I don’t know, feisty about it,” Wilson said.

Prior experience has taught her that when opponents get angry they accrue penalties.

“If they’re mad, most of the time they take it out on us and then get carded, so it’s kind of good that they’re mad,” she said. “We just get excited, so it’ll be fine.”

Players and coaches alike said that they are excited to see this much passion around women’s lacrosse.

“I kind of love it. I am so glad that people feel that this is an important thing. You know, when it’s gonna be a battle, and it’s gonna be a tough game, I think no matter the sport, people get heated, people get excited,” Ms. Metz said. “While this isn’t the way I’d love to see the passion play out, I am proud of our team for being deserving of hype.”

Although the temptation to respond has been present for the team, players have said that they want to allow their play to speak for itself.

“It shows how much people take it seriously and get involved,” Sykes said. “I think it shows a lot of character. None of us, the girls’ lacrosse players, are getting involved. We are just ready to go out and play the sport instead of trying to win over social media.”

Callie Hollis and Abby Grace Dodson contributed to the reporting of this story.