IR senior taking lacrosse talent to Charlotte
Although the sport of lacrosse has rapidly grown in popularity throughout Sussex County over the past years and has flourished in the D.C. and Baltimore areas, Indian River High School might be the last place one would expect to find an athlete earning a collegiate scholarship for the sport.
That’s because the school just introduced lacrosse as an intramural sport this spring, years behind developed programs such as those at Cape Henlopen and Sussex Tech, and upstate schools including Tower Hill, Salesianum and Wilmington Friends. But this spring, Indian River will graduate Abby Miller, who plans to enroll this fall and play women’s lacrosse on a scholarship at Queens College of Charlotte, where she will join her sister, current Queens College sophomore Caitlin Miller.
Having taken up lacrosse in third grade in the Cape Henlopen school district, and growing up with a father and brothers who played all the time, Abby Miller said it has seemingly come naturally to her.
“I picked up a stick back when my brothers were playing,” she said. “I’d play a lot with them and found out that I loved it.”
She played on club teams through elementary and middle school, but as she readied for her transfer to Indian River, she understood the drawback of being at a school without a varsity lacrosse program.
“I knew it was going to be hard,” she said, “but I tried to get as much out of the travel teams as I could. I got used it.”
Miller developed her skill with Green Turtle Lacrosse and the Rippin’ Ropes club in Wilmington.
“My father and brothers played in college,” she said, “and I also wanted to play. When my sister was recruited, that was even more motivation. I got to know the team, and I’m looking forward to playing with her again.”
While Abby Miller has traditionally played midfield on her travel teams, she noted that, once she is at college, coaches may have alternative plans.
Her father, Richard, said he was pleased to have his second daughter follow in her siblings’ footsteps and take the sport that he played in New York and at the University of Delaware to the next level.
“You look at where the sport was years ago,” he said, “and you had the Henlopen North schools playing lacrosse and then you had Berlin. We were here, stuck in the middle of it all. There’s no reason you can’t get something started here with a middle-school program.
“Lacrosse is now in almost every state,” he added. “More often now, you’re seeing high schools playing it down south in North Carolina and Georgia. Lacrosse is growing faster than any other high school sport out there. I’m happy to see it taking off the way it has, and I’m proud to have my daughters playing lacrosse in college.”
Looking ahead to being paired with her sister, Abby Miller is eager to get on the field this fall.
“I’ve been able to get to know the team and the coach since my sister has been there. It will definitely make it easier than going there and not knowing anyone.”