Neuqua Valley Lacrosse
It was a new millennium..
The lacrosse program at Neuqua Valley began as a club in 2000. The first year of varsity lacrosse was 2001 and the team was led by head Coach Dave Neff. There were only 22 teams in the state including Neuqua in 2001.
For the next 16 years Neuqua competed in Illinois "A" division of the IHSLA. The club was ran by a volunteer parent board that did everything from scheduling games to ordering uniforms to painting fields to hiring coaches to hosting banquets.
The first official lacrosse game on school grounds was in 2011 for "senior day." From that year on through 2017, only one game per year was held in the school stadium for each senior day.
In 2018 the club program at Neuqua finally became an IHSA school sport when the state of Illinois adopted lacrosse as an IHSA sport. Josh Maluta was the first IHSA coach for the cats. The parent board dissolved that year and the school took over all operations for lacrosse. The lacrosse program would still be "player funded" for the next 4 years before becoming a "normal priced" sport in 2022.
All home games now take place in the stadium at Neuqua and practices are held on school grounds. The school provides jerseys, helmets, goals, balls, transportation, etc. The sport is much more accessible to those who want to try it out, as it is priced the same as every other sport at the school.
Neuqua has been to the final four three times (2017, 2019, 2022) and its highest finish was 3rd in state in 2019.
More history to come...
The Early Years
The early years of lacrosse at Neuqua involved wearing old football jerseys, non-cascade helmets, and random shorts. The team would endure long bus rides in traffic to get whooped and head home. During the 2000 JV season, Jason Ballou scored the first goal, and first assist in program history in the pouring rain. They beat a freshman squad from Hinsdale Central wearing old JV football jerseys that had been retired.
First Plaoff Win 2006
In 2006, Neuqua Valley edged out Stevenson 10-8 for their first ever IHSLA Playoff win. This win took them to the state quarter finals where they played powerhouse New Trier. Josh Maluta scored the first goal of the game for an early 1-0 lead, but the cats ended up going down 1-8 quickly there after and bowed out to State Champion New Trier 6-16.
First IHSA Season 2018
In 2018 the club program at Neuqua finally became an IHSA school sport when the state of Illinois adopted lacrosse as an IHSA sport. Josh Maluta was the first IHSA coach for the cats. The cats had a strong season, winning their sectional vs Lincoln-Way and making it to the quarter-finals for a second straight year. They would fall short in a close 5-8 game to Glenbard West.