Cal High’s Caroline and Lauren Schloss lead the way in lacrosse
WHITTIER — Imagine the sport of lacrosse at Cal High. No kidding.
In fact, it’s in its second year of competition and growing stronger. That is, until the current state that we are in punched us in the gut and shut down life and sports.
What is lacrosse you ask?
An exhilarating sport, lacrosse is fast-paced and full of action. Long sprints up and down the field with abrupt starts and stops, precision passes and dodges are routine in men’s and women’s lacrosse. Lacrosse is played with a stick, the crosse, which must be mastered by the player to throw, catch and scoop the ball.
There are 11 players and a goalkeeper, which includes three midfielders, four attackers and four defenders.
It is one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States. Youth participation in the sport has grown over 138% since 2001 to nearly 300,000.
No sport has grown faster at the high school level over the last 10 years and there are now an estimated 228,000 high school players.
Two of those players are sisters Caroline and Lauren Schloss of Cal High.
Caroline, currently a senior attacker, fell in love with the sport at the age of nine and got her first stick.
“I wanted to play so bad for five years,” she said. “Finally, in my freshman year I found a team and played on a summer team.”
She wanted to learn on her own and along with her dad, 10th-year Cal High principal Bill Schloss, she watched the game on T.V. and learned the basics.
“I enjoyed watching Northwestern University and also USC. It is an exciting sport.”
By the time she was 15 and a sophomore in school, Caroline wanted more than just belonging to a Lacrosse club at school. She wanted to form a team.
Realizing it took a lot of financing, she decided to write to the US Lacrosse Association looking for a grant.
By December of her junior year during finals week, she received an email and along with it a $14,000 grant for equipment.
“I was shocked,” said Caroline, who is 17.
However, another big factor in starting the program was Cal teacher and lacrosse coach at Yorba Linda, Mike Schreiber. Schreiber, who played lacrosse at Whittier College, was a vital part of the process.
“I’m really proud of Caroline,” Bill Schloss said. “It’s neat to see one of your kids put their mind to starting a program. I feel a lot of pride about your child introducing a new sport.
“Also, with the chance to play with her sister (Lauren). I’m just blessed I can be watching my kids and the rest of the team.”
Lauren, currently a sophomore, was nervous about managing her many sports in school this past year. She also plays golf and runs (100, 200 and 4×100 relay) on the track team at school. “As for the virus, I was so sad for the seniors on the team,” said Lauren, who is a midfielder. “There are quite a few (seniors) on the team. It was a shock when it all happened.
“It was a minimum day and I don’t think we had practice that week.”
All of the players were given their sticks and a ball to take home to practice with, hoping there would still be a season. It wasn’t to be.
“We have a greenbelt in our neighborhood and we (Caroline and Lauren) would pass the ball back and forth,” said Lauren, who just turned 16.
Lauren remembers back to the first day when her dad held the first meeting to start the process of forming a team.
“We were very surprised how many girls showed up,” she said. “Eighty girls showed up at the lunch meeting. We ended up with 25 on the team last year, which was coached by Jessica Gerrish.
To prepare for this year, they practiced in the fall and winter and were all really looking forward to the season.
“It sucks,” said Lauren, referring to the halting of the season. “Last year we were really learning the game.
“Dad messaged the USC Lacrosse team and two players responded and said they would help before their season started. Natalie (Byrne) and Izzy (McMahan) really helped.”
As a team, USC was off to a 6-0 start and ranked nationally before the stoppage in play.
“They were phenomenal and clearly wanted the game to grow and were willing to come out in the preseason,” Bill Schloss said.
Principal Bill also had high praise for his Assistant Principal Shellie Jones for her help. “She and I approached it together.” Jones’ daughter, Kiana, who is a senior was on the team.
With 24 players on this years’ team, mostly composed of seniors, the Condors were off to a 5-2 start.
Cal, which plays as an independent, had some pretty good wins, including one particular one-sided victory.
They defeated Roosevelt, 18-6 and all of the offensive players scored a goal. “It was fun to see all of the players cheering and dancing,” Caroline said of the decisive win. Last season she led the team with 77 goals and already had 29 in the first seven games this season.
Another marquee win this season was a 9-8 overtime victory over Millikan.
In the first game of the season, Caroline tied the game with a goal with forty-five seconds left, then won it in OT. She took the draw and went right down and scored the golden goal for the victory.
Other wins included scores of 7-2 over Cabrillo, 9-2 over Los Alamitos and 12-1 over the Downey JV.
“The really rewarding part of the sport was the togetherness. I’ll miss that the most. I just love the sport,” Caroline said.
With the sudden end to the season, the players really didn’t get to say goodbye to their first-year coach Zoe Alvarez.
“Zoe has been so amazing and she makes the game a lot of fun. She is learning so much and is so nice.”
Alvarez, who never played the sport of Lacrosse, was a star basketball player on coach Brian Barber’s team from 2015-17.
“It was sad and a disappointment because I was excited to coach a new sport and learn it,” said Alvarez, who knows all about the sadness of this year. Her brother, Aiden, is a senior and is also missing out on most of his final semester at Cal High.
Alvarez is currently a junior at Cal State L.A. and has been coaching freshman basketball and helps Barber on varsity.
“Zoe did a tremendous job this year,” Bill Schloss said.
Alvarez dove right in and learned all about the sport of Lacrosse by taking lessons and learning drills for practice.
“I wanted to be 100% committed. One thing I wanted was to get everybody in to play. How fun it was to see the smiles and see them light up with happiness.
“As someone who played sports, I really enjoyed being with my friends,” Alvarez said. “The last couple of months and all the senior events, I really feel for them.”
Alvarez went on to speak of the potential of the team.
“From what I had seen, I felt they could have done very well this season.”
She concluded with, “I definitely appreciate everything and it could be taken away,” Alvarez said of the shortened season. “It all happened so quick, but I want to come back.”
Caroline Schloss, who has been accepted as a student to both Cal Berkeley and UCLA, thought about the future.
“It’ll be interesting to see how sports play out next year.”