Two NYAA lax players named to all-star team
Northwestern's lacrosse team doesn't have the reputation of other schools like Parkland, Emmaus and Southern Lehigh, but that didn't stop two Tigers from making a name for themselves across the Lehigh Valley youth lacrosse landscape.
Cole Norman and Zach Anderson, who both play for the Northwestern Youth Athletic Association (NYAA) U-15 boys lacrosse team, were recently named to the Lehigh Valley Keystone Games all-star squad that competed at Penn State.
Norman and Anderson were two of 21 selections out of the 45 kids that tried out at Southern Lehigh High School.
"I felt like it proved kids from Northwestern and these lower schools can actually do stuff and deserve to have a lacrosse team," Norman said. "It showed that we have the skill level and the ability to make these teams, so we should have our own team."
Of the 21 kids named to the team, only Norman and Anderson were B division players (teams that do not have established high school programs), as opposed to A division squads such as Parkland, Emmaus, Southern Lehigh and Saucon Valley. Three other NYAA players tried out for the team as well.
Not only did the two get to compete with the area's top youth talent, but the tryout process taught the kids plenty of skills over a short period of time.
"The coaches were from Parkland and Saucon Valley, and I felt like I learned a lot from them," Norman said.
"It was a good experience," said Tom Anderson, coach of the Northwestern U-15 team. "They got to see the higher level kids that are playing around them. Zach and Cole, even though they're in the B division and are not getting the coaching that the A [division] kids are, they played in every game at Penn State. They contributed."
In the Keystone Games' Junior Division (one in which eighth and ninth graders are eligible to play) the Lehigh Valley team finished in third place out of the 10 competing teams. In all, Lehigh Valley won five of its eight games, capped by a 9-5 victory over Allegheny County on Sunday, July 26.
"They made some friends from the other schools," Anderson said. "That's one of those experiences they'll never ever forget. Those friends that they made will probably last awhile."
Lehigh Valley also earned victories over Berks County, York County and Montgomery County.
Norman and Anderson will likely only have one more year to play lacrosse at Northwestern since there is no league past the U-15 level. But both are looking to continue their careers in some way in the near future.
"Unless NYAA agreed to get a U-17 team, they'll probably have to jump on a tournament team," Anderson said. "They'll have to travel all over the place."
"My dream is to play lacrosse in high school," Norman said. "I'm going to try and find a way to keep it going and be recognized by colleges. I'm picking either club teams or playing for different high schools, but I don't know yet."