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Academic Year Program Student Paola Asprilla Discovers Lacrosse in Washington

Academic Year Program Student Paola Asprilla Discovers Lacrosse in Washington 1CHI Academic Year Program participant Paola Asprilla is currently living with the Rabura Family in Poulsbo, Washington, just across Puget Sound from Seattle, and attending North Kitsap High School.

Paola, along with four other exchange students, has excelled in her new surroundings, and has picked up a new sport.  She’s been an important member of the North Kitsap girls lacrosse team this year.

The Kitsap Sun recently wrote about Paola as well as the other exchange students on the team.  Congratulations girls, and good luck this season!

North Kitsap lacrosse team has international flavor
Vikings have five exchange students playing
By John Becerra, Jr. Special to the Kitsap Sun
March 2012

POULSBO â€” There are many new faces on the North Kitsap girls lacrosse team. Many of them have never played competitive lacrosse before. They include five students from overseas. North Kitsap High School senior Paola “Pao” Asprilla from Columbia and students from the West Sound Academy – sophomore Bianca Lecube from Spain and juniors Jingyi (Mary) Liu, Yiyan (Cecilia) Sun and sophomore Luyao (Lily) Wang from China – are getting their first taste of lacrosse. Asprilla and Liu play in defense while Lecube plays in midfield and Sun and Wang are attackers. Esprilla, Liu and Wang said they never played before, but were intrigued by the game. “It is a sport that we don’t have in Columbia, so I thought it would be really cool” to play, Asprilla said. “It’s really cool to have a new experience.” “I like playing sports at home, so when I heard they had a lacrosse team I wanted to try out,” Wang said.

Coach Alex Wade said teammate Madeleine Bentley, who also attends West Sound, told Wade that the five were interested in playing for North. He is happy to see them and other new players coming out for the team. “I’ve been really impressed with how they stick with it,” he said. “When it comes to Lily and Mary, they want to step up and learn. “They really push and they really try” to get better, he continued. “They give me what they got, and I can’t ask for any more than that.” Senior co-captain Rachael Rapp said its been fun to have them on the team. “It’s been a very cool experience having people from different countries on your team,” she said. The quintet, who juggle a busy schedule (Wang is a member of the school’s Knowledge Bowl team), make as many practices as they can.

They’ve also dealt with picking up the terminology and little things associated with lacrosse, but are still getting used to playing with a mouthguard â€” and dealing with the unpredictable Western Washington weather. Waid said hasn’t changed anything in teaching them or the other new players about the game. “Just like every other new girl, we take them under our wing and show them the basics,” he said. “You have to get them out there and get them playing time and you have to let them make mistakes, because they’re going to make them.”

Asprilla said she has been getting used to the food as well. “I’ve gained eight kilos (17 pounds) since I’ve been here,” she said. “I’ve never gained that much.” Asprilla, Liu and Wang gave credit to Wade for helping them learn the sport. “He’s a very good coach and he’s cool,” Liu said. “And he’s very funny.” Asprilla said. “He cares about us,” she said. “He’s hard, but he wants the best for us so he wants us to push ourselves.” Wade said they’ll play as much as everyone else. With the 12 new players out of 22 total, Wade hopes to rebuild enough interest to start a middle school team. His goal, along with several of the returners, is to increase their win total. “If we can get to five wins I’ll be happy,” he said.

Senior co-captain Emilie Poffenroth said improved communication on the field is a big factor in their success this season. Though the five international students may not be standouts, Wade was excited to share the story of Lecube scoring her first-ever goal off a free position shot in a 7-6 loss at Spanaway Lake Monday. She also collected two ground balls while Liu registered an assist for her first-ever varsity point. “It was the ugliest goal I’ve ever seen,” he said with a big smile. “She’s looking at me and I’m telling her (how to shoot), and she says OK, then runs right up to her and shoots. “It went off one shoulder, off another shoulder, off the girls helmet and behind her (into the goal),” Wade continued. “I was like ‘Yes! That’s how we do it!’ “It was really funny. I’m screaming across the field, ‘We’re sending a postcard to your parents tonight!”

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