By MIKE SMITH
In 2012, Abby Baigelman became the first Mamaroneck girls lacrosse player to earn All-American honors. This De-cember, Baigelman will suit up for another country entirely when she joins the U19 Israeli team.
Baigelman will spend roughly nine days overseas next month, training with the team at the Olympic training facility in Tel-Aviv before heading to the international games in Poland.
“I’ve been to Israel, but that was when I was really young,” Baigelman said. “I’m definitely excited to get the chance to go back again.”
Baigelman, who plays for Di-vision III Gettysburg Co-legeshe tallied seven goals and five assists in her freshman campaign last springsaid she was approached by her coach about the possibility of suiting up for the Israeli squad.
“She got an email asking if she knew of any players who would be qualified to do it,” Baigelman said. “So I wound up sending my resume over there.”
The Israeli team will be comprised of a number of talented American players, according to Baigelman, but fielding a top-flight team isn’t the only concern of the Israel Lacrosse. Association The national program was specifically looking for athletes who could serve as ambassadors for the sport. Along with their training, the players for the Israeli team will also be running clinics and practices for the nation’s youngsters.
Over the last few years, as lacrosse has boomed in our country, numerous attempts have been made to grow the sport overseas.
“They’re definitely trying to build the sport up more over there,” Baigelman said. “It’s more popular over here, so we are going to be there coaching younger players.”
Although Baigelman–who graduated in 2012 as Mamaroneck’s all-time scoring leader–certainly has some tips for developing as a player, she said the thing she’d most like to instill in the Israeli youth is a true passion for the sport.
“I just want to demonstrate my love of the game,” she said. “I’ve always loved being out there and I want them to also.”
Faced with this unique opportunity, Baigelman knows that, while she is going overseas to promote the sport, she also knows that she is bound to take something away from the experience as well.
“I think it puts a lot of things in perspective; going to Israel, playing the game,” she said. “Playing all that lacrosse, playing in a new place and meeting new people, it’s definitely going to be exciting.”