The coaches of the Bangor girls and boys lacrosse teams say there is a lot of excitement surrounding the sport as the school begins its first year of playing the game at the varsity level.

Tryouts for both teams began Monday night at Red Barry Gym.

"The interest here is very high. It's been growing and growing every year," boys coach Michael Keim said before Monday's tryouts. "I think the kids really apply themselves here. When they talk about it in the hallways and in class and at lunchtime, other students hear that and they want to be apart of that culture."

Bangor area students for the past several seasons have played the game at the club level through Eastern Maine Youth Lacrosse, a program sponsored by the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department.

"The competition's going to be increased a lot because in past seasons we've played the same teams two to three times," Keim said. "This year we're playing different teams over different parts of the state. The kids are very excited for the opportunity and I know I certainly am."

Both the boys and girls teams will play in Class A North. The boy's team will open its season April 12 against Lewiston, while the girl's team will play its first game April 13 against Erskine Academy.

Kaitlin Dolloff, the head coach of the girl's lacrosse team, said 24 girls tried out for the team Monday night and 16-20 of them are expected to play for the varsity squad. Some girls will play JV, while others will play for both teams.

"We have some girls that had played club for Bangor before, and we have a bunch of girls that have never picked up a stick before that are just curious to try it, which is very exciting."

Dolloff said interest in the sport has risen since it was announced that Bangor would offer varsity lacrosse, while girls who had played the sport at the club level have shown a lot of excitement about the varsity team.

"Since day one, they have been waiting for it to turn varsity, and they definitely put in the work and have definitely earned being here as a varsity team."