High school club lacrosse soldiers on

A Sharks player, left, controlled the ball in a lacrosse match against Hawaii Preparatory Academy last season. Courtesy photo.

Club lacrosse still has life in Hawaii high schools.

There are five teams in the state, including three on Oahu — Saint Louis, Punahou and the Sharks (a team of students from many schools).

The other two teams are on the Big Island — Konawaena and Hawaii Prep.

This is the first year the sport is being offered at Saint Louis. The coach is John Keogh, who was hired there as a teacher recently.

Keogh used to be part of Kapolei’s club lacrosse team that is not around any more.

“I got a job teaching at Kapolei in 2004,” said Keogh, who is originally from Rochester, N.Y. “We had a really good team at Kapolei for years. I was there for eight years and went back to the mainland. The first thing I thought of when I (came back and) got a job at Saint Louis was, ‘Start a lacrosse team.’ ”

Glenn Medeiros, the school president, encouraged him to do so.

The five teams will play some regular-season games in what is known as the Aloha Youth Lacrosse Association and will also participate in the Founder’s Cup at Kapiolani Park, May 5-6. That season-ender is the virtual state championship.

Keogh got a turnout of 22 players at Saint Louis. The other coaches are Tom Syverson (Sharks), Will Zucker (HPA), Dan Curran (Konawaena) and Jim Little (Punahou).

There have been other high school club teams in Hawaii throughout the new century, including ‘Iolani, Mililani, Eastside (Kailua/Windward), Le Jardin and the Wolfpack (mostly Honolulu).

Keogh said there are several Sharks players right now who he thinks could some day go on to play in the lower college level.

“One really good player is Ethan Buck (an ‘Iolani student),” Keogh said. “He has played a bunch of other sports and seems to have found his niche.”

Another top Hawaii player from a few years ago, Lincoln Liesmeyer, wound up going to a junior college (Onandaga in Syracuse, N.Y.) and then on to Division I Furman.

“He is kind of our poster child,” Keogh said.

The coach sees many inquisitive kids checking out the lacrosse practices on the Saint Louis field.

“They tell me they’ve got to get ready for football,” Keogh said. “There are 80 kids on the sidelines in football who don’t play in the games. For me, that’s a shame. In lacrosse, you have an opportunity to get playing time. It’s a fun sport and it doesn’t discriminate for size. It’s fun to practice. It is a contact sport and you are allowed to body check, but it’s not the collisions you get in football. It’s very accessible if you are willing to try. It’s fast. There’s no standing around. Some kids play and then eventually take it or leave it. And others, you know they’re infected. They love it.”

For more information, call John Keogh at 799-3200 or visit alohalax.org. There are also middle school, elementary school and other youth divisions. There is also an adult club in Hawaii called Hawaii Lacrosse (hawaiilacrosse.com).

AYLA scores and schedule:

Friday, April 6
>> Punahou 10, Saint Louis 2, at Kapiolani Park

Sunday, April 8
>> Sharks 6, Saint Louis 1, at Kapiolani Park
>> Sharks 10, Punahou 0, at Kapiolani Park

Sunday, April 15
>> Sharks vs. Hawaii Prep (Big Isle site and time TBD)
>> Sharks vs. Konawaena (Big Isle site and time TBD)
>> Saint Louis vs. Punahou, at Kapiolani Park, 10 a.m.

Friday, April 20
>> Saint Louis vs. Sharks, at Kapiolani Park, 5 p.m.

Sunday, April 22
>> Saint Louis vs. Punahou, at Kapiolani Park, 10 a.m.
>> Sharks vs. Punahou, at Kapiolani Park, noon

Thursday, April 26
>> Sharks vs. Punahou (site and time TBA)

Saturday, April 28
>> Punahou vs. Hawaii Prep (Big Isle site and time TBD)
>> Punahou vs. Konawaena (Big Isle site and time TBD)

Sunday, April 29
>> Sharks vs. Saint Louis, at Kapiolani Park, 10 a.m.

Saturday, May 5
>> Founder’s Cup round-robin games, at Saint Louis, 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 6
>> Founder’s Cup playoffs, at Kapiolani Park, time TBD


  1. ExCoach April 12, 2018 8:53 pm

    3 other AYLA players went on to play in college:
    Garrett Ng (Kamehameha ’13) Creighton University
    Nick Rodgness (Radford ’13) Missouri Valley College
    Preston Dudoit (Kalani ’15) University of Saint Mary
    All 3 played for Wolfpack Lacrosse.

  2. Jeffo April 13, 2018 5:51 am

    Great sport for Hawaii! Believe Rudie Schaefer Jr. also played at Ithaca College.
    Way to go John Keogh and AYLA! Youth/HS Lax is alive in the islands.

  3. Doris Sullivan April 13, 2018 11:45 am

    http://archives.starbulletin.com/2001/04/18/sports/index.html one of the first from Hawaii to go play lax in college. Its such a great sport, I wish it would continue to pick up speed.

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