The Pottstown girls lacrosse team cheer together as they prepare for their game against Pottsgrove. The lacrosse match Thursday night was the last event to
The Pottstown girls lacrosse team cheer together as they prepare for their game against Pottsgrove. The lacrosse match Thursday night was the last event to be held under the lights at Grigg Memorial Stadium. The wooden light posts will be cut down this month. (John Strickler/The Mercury)

POTTSTOWN — The lights went out.

The stands were left devoid of fans, retreated to their cars. The Pottstown and Pottsgrove girls lacrosse team huddled in team rooms inside Pottstown High School.

On a night that the Trojans celebrated seniors Madison Mackiewicz, Sidney Sanford, Tyler Thorne and Tyisha Reddick on Senior Night, lightning strikes played spoiler, suspending the last game to be held under the lights at Grigg Memorial Field.

Play will resume on Monday at 3:45 p.m. with Pottstown holding a 5-2 edge with more than 13 minutes remaining — the game 3:24 away from being official. Sanford, who had two goals before the lightning strike, is one away from No. 100 of her career.

Pottsgrove’s Caitlin Gillette (2) tries to cut toward the goal as Pottstown’s Mardajae Pearson (13) and Alexa Charles (7) defend in first half
Pottsgrove's Caitlin Gillette (2) tries to cut toward the goal as Pottstown's Mardajae Pearson (13) and Alexa Charles (7) defend in first half action Thursday. (John Strickler/The Mercury)

"We've got 13 more minutes,' Pottstown head coach Andrew Bachman said. "I don't want the weekend to be the momentum changer.'

Lights have illuminated Grigg Memorial Field on Friday nights for football and Senior Nights for soccer, field hockey and lacrosse for more than 50 years. However, the 120-foot poles, which are made of wood, have deteriorated and are unable to hold lights safely. The process of cutting the lights down to half their size, will begin around May 12.

For Bachman and his senior class, being the last team to play under the lights was a reward near the end of an arduous season that was plagued by a lack of practice space and a bone-chilling winter's grasp that extended into early April.


Advertisement

"This group of seniors, through the painstaking weather of this season, it is at least an award for them to have their Senior Night game under the lights,' Bachman said.

"It was definitely something special (playing under the lights),' Mackiewicz added. "It's a football tradition and it was cool that the last game under the lights was for lacrosse.'

For Sanford, not having lights may not detract students from joining athletic programs, but it's demoralizing that playing at night would be abandoned.

Pottsgrove’s Asia Glenn (10) and Pottstown’s Emily Iezzi and Madison Mackewicz battle for the ball in the first half Thursday. (John
Pottsgrove's Asia Glenn (10) and Pottstown's Emily Iezzi and Madison Mackewicz battle for the ball in the first half Thursday. (John Strickler/The Mercury)

"I think they'll be disappointed that they can't play under the lights but I still think they'll come out,' she said.

Bachman wants the fund raising attempt to head into a new direction — to construct a new tradition by bringing in new turf fields instead of working toward resurrecting lights on the ' single-sport-only' football field.

"While I understand the tradition, $230,000 for 10 nights — six home nights (for football) and then girls soccer, boys soccer, field hockey and girls lacrosse (Senior Nights) — let's be real,' Bachman said. "How about we raise $1 million over four years and get our fifth graders to play on turf. Then maybe, we'll have a chance to balance out with all the other community programs and other schools.

The Pottstown and Pottsgrove girls lacrosse teams play under the lights Thursday night at Grigg Memorial Stadium. (John Strickler/The Mercury)
The Pottstown and Pottsgrove girls lacrosse teams play under the lights Thursday night at Grigg Memorial Stadium. (John Strickler/The Mercury)

"I think you need to plan things out, four years down the road and do things for all the other sports. Maybe, the tradition would be, ' Hey, come out in the preseason and the lacrosse team doesn't have to go out into the parking lot and practice in the winter time and get shin splints all winter.''

Bachman pointed out his team's success hinges on learning the game the right way, not worrying about field conditions of the district's current natural grass fields. His team, and all the other teams in the athletic program, he believes would benefit from having turf installed.

"I would like to get turf because the other sports deserve it. The field hockey, the soccer and the lacrosse deserve it. They get to play and learn the sport, the right way — not running through ruts.

"It would be nice to have an equal chance with the teams that do have turf, because the teams that have turf have picked up this year. Upper Perk, they have had turf for two years and look at what they've done. Phoenixville, turf for two years, look where they are. Now they're beating other teams in the league that they weren't beating before.

"Yes, different coaches, different players and years, I get it, but it's a big pride thing that you can go out there everyday and actually practice.'

Follow Sam Stewart on Twitter @Samuel_Stewart7