Boys’ lacrosse: Pembroke
After falling to the Pembroke Hill Raiders in last year’s Lacrosse Association of Kansas City (LAKC) semifinals, the boys’ lacrosse team’s rivalry with Pembroke has grown. After beating Pembroke 15-7 in the regular season, the Lancers lost to the Raiders by a single goal when it counted most — the LAKC semifinals.
Senior John Aliber has played varsity lacrosse since his freshman year. Since then, the Lancers lead the series with Pembroke 4-2.
“We played them in the state finals two years in a row and beat them both years by one goal, so it’s always a good game when we play,” Aliber said. “Losing to them in the semifinals last year was tough, but I love to beat Pembroke simply because I hate them. So does the whole team. I don’t really know how else to describe the rivalry, besides simply that I hate them.”
Pembroke is a private school, and lacrosse is the only sport East plays the Raiders in. According to senior Sam Huffman, this is a major factor of why the rivalry is so heated.
“It makes the rivalry a lot more intense because we don’t have many opportunities to play Pembroke,” Huffman said. “The hype for the game really makes the rivalry more intense.”
Huffman and Aliber’s first two years at East, they defeated Pembroke in the state championship. Now, after losing to the Raiders their junior year, revenge is their mindset.
Girls’ Swim: Lawrence Free State
Since her freshman year, junior Mary Booton has battled Lawrence Free State each season at both girls’ swim League and State meets. And both years, she’s won. Freshman year was a breeze, the Lancers easily topping Free State to win the state title. Sophomore year was closer, as Free State was predicted to win both League and State, but the Lancers were able to take the Firebirds by surprise, beating them in both League and State.
Booton says this year the Lancers are able to defeat Free State, due to depth in the East roster.
“[Free State] has a handful of really talented swimmers but lack depth through the team,” Booton said. “We have a smaller group of really talented girls but we have a bigger team giving us depth.”
Booton has confidence that this years’ squad will have even more depth than in the past, due to an increase of competitive club swimmers joining the high school team.
“This year we have more club girls swimming high school that haven’t done it before,” Booton said. “Hopefully we’ll have a larger group of super fast girls and have the depth that Free State never seems to have.”
Girls’ Soccer: Shawnee Mission West
The week before the SM West girls’ soccer game, senior Emma Braasch notices an increase in the team’s physical and mental intensity at practice. Head coach Jamie Kelly runs the girls harder and runs through more real game situation drills during practice, in hopes to bring the teams’ focus to an all-time high.
Braasch thinks the East-West girls’ soccer rivalry is partly because several players on each team play together on their club teams.
“Transitioning from playing with them to playing against them always sparks a rivalry and makes you want to beat them even more,” Braasch said. “I used to play with four of the West girls on my club team, so that helps prepare us a lot.”
Junior Adalaide Kline says that playing with these girls in the past helps to give them an idea of how the girls will play in the game, and led them to their victory over West last season.
“There’s one girl that I have played with who’s really good and I know that the rest of her teammates will be looking for her to play the ball, so we know to always be watching her and marking her,” Kline said. “If you know the girls and have played with them you most likely know the things they do in the game, and how they play.”
Last year the Lancers defeated West in overtime, scoring the “Golden Goal” to win the game. After a close game last season, the team hopes to come out victorious again this year.