Lyons Township High School senior Lauren Kudia knows the nerves of playing varsity girls lacrosse as a freshman.
The Brookfield resident had similar feelings anticipating the Lions’ Senior Night matchup against Oak Park and River Forest on April 27.
“At the beginning of the game, I just had the jitters,” Kudia said. “That can kind of make you have a different head space but once you get in it, you’ve got to be able to calm down and just be able to play.”
These days, it’s Kudia the fourth-year varsity player, who calms the concerns for a relatively inexperienced roster.
Kudia, fourth-year varsity senior Amanda Hahn and third-year varsity junior Caitlyn Curtin are co-captains. Hahn also was a captain in 2022.
“As a freshman, I was so shy. I encourage people to use their voice, be able to talk to people to know each other,” Kudia said. “Once you’re comfortable with each other, you can play really well and you’re really cohesive.”
The Lions (3-6, 0-2 in West Suburban Conference) lost to the Huskies 14-7 after starting the week with another rivalry match, winning 14-7 at Riverside-Brookfield on April 24.
Kudia and Curtin know some RBHS players. Curtin is the daughter of RBHS athletic director Brendan Curtin.
But they know numerous OPRF players, posing for a large group photo after Thursday’s game. The Lions are offseason teammates with several Huskies through the East Avenue Lacrosse club.
“Every year I look forward to the OPRF game, not only because it’s conference but it’s just so competitive,” Curtin said.
All three captains were 2022 All-WSC players. Kudia and Hahn were among the Lions’ five all-sectional honorees.
As Curtin noted, several Lions are leaders. Other seniors are four-year players Nora Collins, Ella Federle and Grace Gonzales, Ciara Davis, Esperanza Garcia and Paige Petrovich.
“I love this team. I think they’ve been very fun and encouraging and willing to learn and try new things on the field, which is always huge,” LTHS coach C.C. Luxem said.
Kudia knew little about lacrosse when she accompanied a friend to an East Avenue camp the summer before eighth grade. She plans to play club lacrosse at Missouri.
“I really liked the experience and all of the girls so I thought it was fun and I really built up my skills,” Kudia said.
Curtin explained her gaining interest as a third grader after finding a random lacrosse stick in the garage.
“I just started playing with it and signed up for camps and leagues and have just been playing ever since,” Curtin said. “Looking back on it, I don’t even know where it came from. It was there. I don’t know. Maybe it was fate.”