She may not be the type of person to draw attention in most real life situations.
But on the lacrosse floor, 23-year-old Quesnel product Mayghan Letoria gets noticed, if for no other reason than for being a woman in a men’s league.
While the 5-foot-2 athlete is used to standing shorter than others in a game in which size helps, other female lacrosse players in Quesnel may look up to Letoria. She’s gained support in the Gold Pan City as the the only female member of the Crossfire, an expansion team in the Prince George Senior Lacrosse Association.
Letoria might be a newcomer to men’s lacrosse, but she isn’t new to the sport. She was brought up through the minor lacrosse system in Quesnel with influence from her father Don, a coach and former player. She knew the men’s game would be more challenging, but that didn’t stop her from joining the Crossfire. In fact, she may have been one of the first to sign up for the squad.
“I got a couple of my friends interested just to make sure we would have enough people to play,” Letoria says.
One thing Letoria has discovered this season is that she isn’t alone, since the six-team league has two other female players: Caralynn Nault of the BX Pub Bandits and Ashley Sidhu of the Shooters Pub Devils. What may make Letoria’s situation unique is that she’s engaged to one of her teammates, Aaron Yager. They’re getting married in August.
“I’m kind of hoping that lacrosse is going to settle down just before the wedding so I’m not all bruised,” she says.
Letoria claims to have got Yager hooked on lacrosse. He’s into his first year playing the sport, and the influence she has on him can be seen on the floor.
“When there’s some big guys out there, he likes to try and be on the floor with me, just in case anything happens,” Letoria says.
Nault, 21, has been acting as a fill-in for the Bandits, having suited up in four PGLSA games. Monday night’s 21-5 triumph over Quesnel marked just her second game with the team this year. She grew up in Mackenzie, and also saw action in a doubleheader against her hometown LumberJax last year.
Nault, who stands just shy of 5-foot-4, also played minor lacrosse. She says she grew up loving “every part of it.”
She even enjoys the trash talking.
“I have a tendency to beak people. Once in a while, not so much,” Nault says. “I used to be bad when I was younger, but I also used to be bigger than everybody so it was a lot easier to do that.”
Nault has enjoyed playing for a Bandits squad battling atop the league standings with an 8-1 record. She also enjoyed an individual highlight this week, finding the back of the net on Monday evening for her first PGSLA goal.
“I notice with the Bandits especially, their team morale is really good,” she said. “They’re always joking around and there’s always good times.”
From a statistical standpoint, Letoria’s season has been less memorable. She’s still seeking her first PGSLA goal while suiting up for a Crossfire team that’s winless at 0-7. They’ll take another shot at notching their first win on Saturday, when they meet the College Heights Pub Assault at 8 p.m. The contest is the second half of a Coliseum doubleheader that begins with a 6 p.m. battle between the Twisted Cork/Regional Security Stylers and Shooters Pub Devils.
“It’s more of kind of a fun year to figure out what’s going on and how everyone feels about it,” Letoria says. “It’s just a big learning experience for everyone.”
Gender differences can result in awkward or embarrassing encounters. But the women have enjoyed playing alongside men.
“I was a little worried playing this year with older guys. When I was younger, there would be the odd sexist remark, guys not used to playing with girls,” Letoria says. “The guys now are, I guess they’re grown up so they’re more mature. But they’ve been a lot of fun.”