Published Mar. 8, 2023
By RILEY PALSHAW
After making their debut to Carmel High School’s girls’ lacrosse program as volunteer assistant coaches last year, new varsity head coach Reed Walter and assistant coach Kaley Kinoshita are taking on the team for the 2023 season with hopes of expanding the program and playing competitively in league.
Having already coached this group of girls before, Walter jumped at the opportunity to further connect with the team when former head coach Ray Mayer voluntarily stepped away from the position at the end of last season. As an east coast native, Walter was introduced to lacrosse in the seventh grade and quickly fell in love with the sport, playing on club teams throughout high school and eventually for Roanoke College in Virginia where she was a defender and captain her senior year.
“The group is very motivated and successful already,” says Walter, “so it’s not hard to harness that drive into the sport. The fun component of it is that everyone wants to be out there…and at the end of the day we’re just trying to have fun and teach the girls new skills.”
Between some of her prior coaching experience with lacrosse athletes in Virginia Beach and her time with last year’s squad, Walter hopes to bring an enjoyable, but motivated atmosphere to the team as they work to reestablish their midfield and grow throughout the 13-game season.
“I’m a strong believer that you get what you put in,” says Walter, “so I want to see girls try something that they might not be good at naturally because there are a lot of life lessons that can be learned from playing sports and being dedicated to something.”
For Kinoshita, who played for a Division I club team at Washington State University, coaching at the varsity level is a full circle moment, as she was one of the few community members who started Carmel’s program. When she moved to CHS as a junior, there was only a boys’ lacrosse team on campus, so Kinoshita and a group of equally interested students advocated for girls’ lacrosse at a Carmel Unified School District board meeting in January 2015. With the school board’s approval, around 30 athletes formed the first CHS girls’ lacrosse team, and nearly six years later, the program now has over 50 participants.
“It makes me very proud, and I really care for this program a lot because I’ve seen it grow from nothing to what it is today,” says Kinoshita.
This dedication to the program has been made clear to the varsity athletes, many of whom are excited about the dynamic Walter and Kinoshita have created.
“Our team is in fantastic hands,” says senior varsity captain Reygan Bethea. “Since last year, they’ve always been a positive influence at practice, pushing the girls to work harder and improve. This year the energy feels a little more serious than last year, but in a good way. If we’re coming to lacrosse practice, they expect us to be present and work hard at practice, and I would expect nothing less.”
Recently hired junior varsity head coach Sophia White, having played at Emmanuel College for four years and coached at Bay Path University in Massachusetts, also hopes to bring the same intensity to Carmel girls’ lacrosse.
“We have been searching for a long time for coaches with this kind of experience so I am really excited for the continued development of the program and another great season,” says Ray Mayer, who is confident in leaving the program in this group’s hands.
With the season already underway, varsity begins league competition Friday, March 10, at 3:30 p.m. against Scotts Valley at CHS, followed by an away game March 16 at Stevenson, face-off at 4 p.m.
Senior Riley Palshaw is a second-year varsity girls’ lacrosse player for CHS.