Mendham’s Yee expects smooth transition

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

There might not be all the many differences between this year’s Mendham girls lacrosse team and the teams of the past, but to the naked eye it might seem entirely different. It’s because new Minutemen coach Lauren Yee might say more with a whisper than other coaches that like to turn up the volume.

“I do think (in being calm) that a little bit of it will rub off on them,” Yee said. “Actions speak louder than words.”

It will be her first varsity head coaching job. Yee is a Mendham alumnus and served as an assistant coach for the Minutemen the last couple years. She replaces Jessica Shoulberg, who turned Mendham girls lacrosse into one of the top programs in the state over the past decade. She stepped down quietly last fall, a situation which stunned the members of the program.

“It was a shock,” Yee said. “No one had any idea. There was no inclination that this was her final year. It shocked the girls. They were disappointed and upset.”

Yee has gotten several opportunities to talk to the players since she was hired in November. If she wasn’t impressed with their efforts and attitudes in the past while coaching at the jayvee level, she is now.

“I’ve met with the girls a couple of times,” Yee said. “They have a ton of passion. They are a great group of kids. They know what they want. They know how to get there.”

Yee believes the transition will be made easier because she is from Mendham. She is also a member of the STEPS Inc. coaching staff, the youth lacrosse program that Shoulberg co-founded with her husband Charlie Shoulberg. She has the blessing of the coaches who will continue their role at the youth and town team levels.

“I’m expecting a smooth transition without any kind of surprises,” Yee said. “I have a great relationship with the Shoulbergs and they will still be very much involved.

“I do think that being an alum makes it a lot easier. I know what they expect. I know what the community expects. There are very high expectations. I’m familiar with the girls and they are familiar with me. There will be a little tweaking here and there with my influences. There will be high expectations. I wouldn’t expect anything else.”

Yee played on some strong scholastic teams in the early 2000s. She is a 2004 graduate of Mendham. She walked away from lacrosse her freshman year when she decided to attend the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and found that she couldn’t live without lacrosse.

“Out of high school I didn’t think I wanted to play in college,” Yee said. “I went to UMass my first year. After that I decided to transfer to Rowan, so I could play. I haven’t regretted for a minute. I missed the camaraderie of being part of a team. I missed the competition. I’m very competitive but reserved. I’m very lacrosse oriented. It’s been a huge part of my life.”

She distinguished herself well in Rowan both on the field and in the classroom. In her senior year of eligibility she finished with 25 goals and 17 assists in 17 games for the Profs. She earned a finance degree at the school. Her interests in coaching and finance are running on parallel paths. Yee is working at a brokerage firm in Parsippany while also studying for a masters degree in Elementary Education at FDU-Florham.

Yee spent two years as an assistant with Oak Knoll before joining the staff at Mendham. The most important thing that she wants her players to understand is that anything they accomplish, they will accomplish as a team.

“Everything is going to be team oriented,” Yee said. “We’re going to work as a team, achieve as a team. It’s simple. Our goal is to be state champs. We want to be the best.”

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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