In April the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School girls’ lacrosse team has a trip of a lifetime planned. Fifteen student athletes from this year’s team will be proud representatives of the Island community as they compete internationally playing lacrosse against the best high school teams in England.

Lacrosse was first introduced to the Island 13 years ago when coach Betsy Dripps moved here from Philadelphia and started a program at the high school. In those 13 years the girls’ team has been very successful reaching the state tournament 12 out of the 13 years. The boys’ high school program that started a year after the girls’ has also been extremely competitive. Both boys and girls have strong youth programs, each fielding several teams of enthusiastic young players who will soon be stars on the high school level.

The girls’ trip to England is something Coach Dripps has wanted to do for the past 30 years. Every year, both in Philadelphia and here on the Vineyard, her teams have hosted a team from England, Scotland or Wales. She has always felt that this international exchange through sports was a wonderful opportunity for her players. “Our English visitors always say that they love coming to the Vineyard and staying with our players more than any of the other places they visit in the U.S. Maybe it is because the Vineyard reminds them of back home and our players are always great hosts,” Coach Dripps said.

This year it is the Vineyarders’ turn to travel across the ocean and play those teams that have visited them here on the Island. The team will play five matches while they are in England: Westonbirt School in Gloucestershire, Benenden School in Cranbrook, St. Helens/St. Katherines School in Oxfordshire, Cheltenham Ladies’ College in Cheltenham, and St. Catherine’s Bramley School in Guilford. The team will also take in some fun sightseeing at Windsor Castle, the Roman Baths in Bath, Oxford, London and several quaint English towns along their route.

“This is indeed a wonderful opportunity for our girls and they hope to do well against some tough competition abroad. But regardless of the game outcomes, we all know that our girls’ lacrosse team will make the Vineyard very proud,” Mrs. Dripps said.

Unfortunately the cost of the air fare and costs in England are very expensive. The team has been busy trying to raise money for their trip since last August, but the fundraising has been a real challenge. Many girls are still wondering if they will be able to come up with all the money needed. “These girls have all worked so hard both in the classroom and on the lacrosse field. How lucky the Vineyard community is to have them representing us over in England both on and off the field. Just remember that our future lies in these talented young players,” Coach Dripps said.

The girls’ team would greatly appreciate any donations that the community is willing to make toward their 2008 England tour. Checks can be made out to MVRHS Girls’ Lacrosse Booster’s Club and mailed to: Betsy Dripps, head girls’ lacrosse coach, MVRHS, Box 1385, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.