Lacrosse is in the Valley!

By Wendy Gooditis

At last, the fantastic sport of lacrosse has made it to the Shenandoah Valley!

Valley Vipers lacrosse - Photo Wendy Gooditis

The newly-created high school team is called the Top of the Valley Vipers (a.k.a. Valley Vipers), and is already preparing for the spring season with weekly practices and scrimmages on Sunday afternoons at Daniel Morgan Middle School in Winchester. The team is associated with the Shenandoah Valley Youth Lacrosse league and draws players from around the area of Frederick County, Clarke County, and West Virginia.

The ancient sport of lacrosse had been played by the Indian tribes in northern New York and Canada for centuries. It was a fiercely competitive game played by both men and women, often village against village or tribe against tribe. The game had many different names early on, but the French explorers to the region called the game lacrosse. In those days games often lasted several days and were contested by many players with goals several miles apart.

The game, as it is played today by the Valley Vipers, is slightly less grueling but is as exciting as ever. The young men of the team are determined and competitive but demonstrate a real camaraderie. Locke Gooditis, a resident of Clarke County has this to say about lacrosse:

“I really like the complexity and requirements of the sport, and the fact that it’s an extremely team-based sport. It’s fast-paced so players have to think and act quickly. It’s good to have a team that wants to support every player, because if you falter your teammates take care of you. We didn’t have a league here before, and it’s great to have one in the valley now. I play defense because I get to work with the goalie and keep the other team from winning. I try to get the opponent to drop the ball by checking (hitting) his stick. It feels great to intercept the ball and crush the dreams of the opposing team!” Gooditis says with a laugh.

As a new organization, the team is facing the challenge of fund-raising in order to meet basic costs such as field rentals and referee fees, as well as hoping to buy uniforms in their chosen colors of green and gold. The board of the high school team is made up of coaches and parents and is seeking to raise funds to help this young team to get a good start and grow in coming years.

The team has scheduled two fund-raising events for the next two weekends. They will be holding a yard sale in Berryville on the morning of October 1st at 204 Taylor Street from 7 to 12. And they will have a carwash and bake sale on October 8th at Miller Honda located at 3985 Valley Pike in Kernstown. Please come and support this enthusiastic young team!

For more information about the Top of the Valley Vipers and Shenandoah Valley Youth Lacrosse (for boys and girls), please go to:


  1. Thank you for this article. I seriously doubt Clarke will ever have a team of its own and I have been wondering what my son will do once he hits HS in 3 or 4 years. The Western Loudoun program only goes to U 15 because every HS over there has a team. At least now I know he can play through HS if he wants.

    • Yes, we’re very fortunate! It’s a great bunch of kids and we have experienced and dedicated coaches at all levels for both sexes. We can always use more players and more support! Our son played with Western Loudoun until this fall. It’s a great organization, but we’re even happier now!

  2. Bill Lukens says:

    I believe it should be “re-introduced” into the lower Shenandoah Valley…

    Even though the article talks about lacrosse being played by Northeastern and Canadian area Native Americans, I was taught that lacrosse (or a version thereof) was played by most of the people east of the Mississippi for centuries.

    Almost every recorded groups of people have some sort of ball games, many including sticks and balls.

    My dad played lacrosse for Augusta Military Academy in Fort Defiance, VA in the 40’s. I had his stick for many years, but it has been lost amongst the many family moves.

    I’m glad to see our youngsters getting introduced to a great sport.

    • You are so right! The sport became more and more formalized until it resembled today’s lacrosse, and that formalization process took place in more northern regions, but it was certainly played here waaay before football and soccer and baseball!