CONCORD -- The perfect illustration of how much girls lacrosse has grown in the East Bay in recent years came inside a room at Carondelet High in the morning of Nov. 14.

There, seven members of the Cougars' lacrosse team officially declared where they will be playing at the NCAA Division I level.

Considering the North Coast Section has only crowned champions in lacrosse since 2004, and the sport is still in its nascent stages in Northern California compared to recruiting hotbeds in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S., it was an impressive affair.

The Carondelet players were Hofstra-bound Erin Jeffery -- the Bay Area News Group's 2012 East Bay Player of the Year -- Morgan Castelein (Ohio State), Katie Merritt (San Diego State), Danielle Sanchez (Fresno State), Molly Kuptz (Saint Mary's), Cali Castagnola (Colorado) and Kerianne Hunt (Brown).

"This is what we all wanted, and we've been working for a long time," Jeffery said. "It's so impressive that all of us are going to Division I schools. We're all excited."

Jeffery said she began playing lacrosse in the fourth grade, and several of her teammates started to play during their junior high years.

"At that point," said Carondelet coach Rick Jeffery, "it's something different for the girls to try other than soccer or basketball."

All of Carondelet's players are with BearLax, an East Bay club team that has 19 players committed to play college lacrosse next year at either a Division I, II, or III program.

Nov. 14 was also signing day for a number of other sports, including basketball, baseball, boys lacrosse and boys and girls swimming.

Four De La Salle baseball players signed letters of intent: Andrew Buckley (Cal), Justin Flatt (UC San Diego), Hunter Mercado-Hood (San Diego) and Austin Puckett (Pepperdine).

In boys lacrosse, the Spartans' Will Montero signed with Bryant University in Rhode Island and Jackson Teague signed with Mercer University in Georgia.

In basketball, De La Salle's Elliott Pitts signed with Arizona and Carondelet's Lauren Nicolosi signed with Hawaii Pacific. Golfer Justin Pagila signed with Army.

"He's a great passer and a very skilled shooter who is going to continue to grow and develop physically," Arizona coach Sean Miller said in a school press release. "As he develops, his skill level and incredible work ethic will allow him to contribute at a number of positions for us."

Carondelet swimming teammates Chelsea Chenault and Madison White will be Pac-12 rivals in college. Chenault signed with USC and White signed with UCLA.

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