ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – In his third season coaching Clayton High School Lacrosse, Matt Paige is making St. Louis a little more like his hometown of Syracuse, New York.

“They pretty much put a stick in your crib when you are born,” Paige says. “It’s still very close to my heart. I got into college off of lacrosse and it’s provided a lot of opportunities for me.”

Three and a half years ago, Paige was sent to St. Louis by the lacrosse company he worked for, LB3 Lacrosse.

“They had seen the growth, seen the talent level with the athletes,” Paige says. “And they got to the point where they wanted to grow nationally so, they knew St. Louis would be a good hub to start that.”

He recognized a trend that hockey players in St. Louis were taking to lacrosse in the Spring. Like Senior defender Blake Trivundza, who in eighth-grade picked up lacrosse and expects others to follow to him.

“Across the country and especially in St. Louis there has been a big push,” Trivundza says “I do think give it 10, 20 years it will be a much more played sport and taken a lot more seriously.”

And Paige says after local athletes go through college playing lacrosse, they will come back and hopefully further the sport.

“It’s lacrosse IQ, and that’s where we noticed that a lot of the kids didn’t really have the mental side of the game,” Paige says.

Trivundza agreed that St. Louis still is lagging behind larger lacrosse areas in the county.

“I’d say it’s the difference between St. Louis football and Texas football,” Trivundza says. “So it’s just that everyone takes it more serious from top to bottom and it’s much more intense.”

But there is proof St. Louis lacrosse is growing. The Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association added five new teams this season, with a few more expected to join next year. And Clayton will continue to recruit and bring new athletes to the sport, as it has done the last 20 years.

Hopefully we can get some of the 8th graders into it and maybe have some of my older guys turn some of the juniors freshman sophomores and get them to start playing,” Paige says.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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