Jessica Volpe is FLG’s newest coaching addition for the girl’s 2028 team. After playing varsity lacrosse and track in high school, Volpe played Division I women’s lacrosse for Stony Brook. SBU has one of the best women’s lacrosse programs in the country. After graduating, Volpe began her professional career in the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League. Now, the America East champion now fills the roll as FLG’s 2028 girl’s coach, and plans to instill skills she learned from legendary coach, Joe Spallina, into her own players.
Q: What is your favorite part about coaching the next generation of lacrosse?
A: My favorite part about coaching the next generation of lacrosse is watching the game evolve & grow. When I first started playing lacrosse, the rules were very different. The game has grown tremendously and the talent level today is like none other before.
Q: What inspired you to begin coaching and stay a part of the lacrosse community post-college?
A: After college, I continued my playing career for two years. I played for two professional teams, Philadelphia Force & Upstate Pride (WPLL). I knew I wanted to be around the game of lacrosse forever after competing on these teams. After graduating from SBU, I started my Master’s in teaching & realized that coaching lacrosse at the high school level would fit my schedule perfectly.
Q: During your time at Stony Brook, what was the most valuable lesson you learned about the sport of lacrosse? How has Coach Spallina influenced your own coaching style?
A: Coach Spallina has definitely influenced my coaching style. Everyone who knows Coach Spallina, is aware of how he coaches and his level of intensity. Coach Spallina tailors his coaching techniques for each individual player and that is why some of the best lacrosse players have come out of SBU. Each day that I am on the field coaching, I always think back to what Coach Spallina used to say to us in certain situations and I find myself repeating his ‘famous lines’.
During my time at SBU, I learned many valuable lessons— mainly lessons that were taught on the lacrosse field. One of my favorite lessons that Coach taught me was to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I believe that Spallina is as successful as he is because he pushes players to get out of their comfort zone.
Prior to starting my career at SBU, I never knew how it felt to get out of my comfort zone. I played a bit reserved in high school and was afraid to take chances on the field. Well, that ‘comfortable zone’ I was in during high school ended my first week at SBU practice when Spallina called out “cone drill in the corner.” If you play lacrosse or have ever been coached by Spallina, you know exactly what I am talking about! Every single player was pushed out of their comfort zone during this drill and it was the first time I actually felt uncomfortable being uncomfortable.
Q: How does coaching the Harborfields varsity team differ from coaching FLG’s 2028 team?
A: My coaching style for FLG slightly differs from my coaching style at Harborfields. I coach the 2028 team for FLG (5th graders) and I coach the varsity girls at HF. Therefore, just my level of intensity differs for each team. With my 2028 group, I am mainly focusing on developing the girls stick skills and teaching them field positioning.
However, with my HF group, I am focusing on taking their game to the next level by teaching more specific parts of the game, offensively, defensively, on the draw, etc.. When coming up with drills and/or plays I do always refer back to our SBU practices. About 99% of the time, my practices consist of drills from SBU. However, I do sometimes take drills from the boys FLG teams as their drills are very intense and fast paced.
Q: When you’re not playing or coaching on the field, what’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
A: When I am not in the classroom or out on the field, I enjoy working out and spending time with family. I definitely always have to be doing something and kept busy.
Q: Lastly, what do you look forward to most about the upcoming season?
A: The upcoming season is going to look different, just like everything else in our world today. My HF players got together and are playing in a fall league twice a week. Coaching the girls and just watching them out on the field has been extremely fulfilling.
It has been a while since all of us were on the field together and to finally be back together again has been extremely uplifting during these difficult times. I definitely see a change in the players demeanors when they step on the field. After last season was cancelled, the players will no longer take any opportunity to play for granted.