Yang represents Spartans at Lacrosse Team Tennessee


Emmy Yang

Yang charges across the field with the ball watching carefully for any obstacles enacted by the competition. As an attacker, Yang is vital to the Team Tennessee offense and scoring points for the team.

Emmy Yang (11) barrels down the field alongside the other elite lacrosse players from across Tennessee. Team Tennessee is a competitive team requiring tryouts that narrow down almost 50 hopefuls to a top 22 that get the opportunity to compete in a nationwide tournament held in Maryland. As an attacker, Yang plays a vital role on the offense of the 2022 Team Tennessee. 

Although it might be surprising to an onlooker, Yang is a relatively inexperienced player, starting only in her freshman year of high school. Nothing in particular drew her to the sport, but she quickly picked up skills with the ball and communication that made her a force to be reckoned with.

“I thought I had a strong learning curve, but my coach said I picked it up fast,” Yang said. “The more practice I put in, the more results I saw.”

As Yang’s passion for the sport grew, she joined a club team, Memphis Lax, in addition to the school team. She quickly yearned for more and decided to attend tryouts for Team Tennessee. 

“Half of it was like stick skills and line drills with partners, and the second half was a scrimmage like six vs. six,” Yang said. “About 50 girls tried out, and it was a lot of Nashville girls so I didn’t really know them.”

Shortly after tryouts, 20 players and two alternates were chosen to represent Tennessee. Because each player is already expected to be skilled in their position, the team had limited practice time before facing other teams at the tournament in Maryland.

“After we got chosen, we had two practices in Nashville,” Yang said. “They were two weekends consecutively, and the weekend after we went to Maryland. We really don’t have a lot of practice [so] they expect you to know what you’re doing.”

After two short weekends of preparation, the team traveled to Maryland where they played four games at an outdoor sports complex. Team Tennessee fared well, winning two games, tying one, and losing one. Although no rules or technicalities of the sport changed, Yang noticed some key differences in playing style between seasoned club players from other areas of Tennessee and players in Memphis, where lacrosse is not as widespread.

“It was really interesting playing with girls that have been playing for so long because a lot of the girls in Nashville have been playing since they were in elementary school,” Yang said. “In Memphis, lacrosse isn’t as developed so it was interesting seeing the difference in skills and experience on the field.”

However, a factor of lacrosse that development and experience do not penetrate is team chemistry. Because many of the girls on Team Tennessee were meeting for the first time, Yang noted that communication and trust between players was a larger obstacle than she had anticipated.

“Having a connection that’s already there is a big factor in how you play because it’s a team sport,” Yang said. “It was kind of difficult not knowing people and playing with people that didn’t know how I played [because] it was hard for them to trust me with the ball. At school, we all know each other so it’s easier to trust each other.”

Despite these challenges, the team managed to play two consecutive days, winning two games, tying one and losing one. Luckily for Yang, her stamina had been slowly developing as she balanced club lacrosse in addition to Lady Spartans lacrosse, so she was able to perform well for both.

“We had two games a day and the games were each about 45 minutes running clock,” Yang said. “It was normal for me because I also play club and when we go to tournaments for club lacrosse we usually play three or four games a day.”

As a whole, lacrosse entered Yang’s life as a whim but has evolved into a learning experience and presented many opportunities that enhanced her athletic and communication abilities. Yang hopes to participate in Team Tennessee again in 2023 and looks forward to meeting more players and furthering her personal skills.

“I think [lacrosse] developed confidence for me because if you say you’re going to do something in the field you have to do it, you can’t just wish it into existence,” Yang said. “You get what you put in.”