Do the math. Look at how much it costs to register a team for tournaments - the costs are available. Add up the total costs of all the tournaments for the year for that team, add in the practice field costs, and all the expenses. Then look at how much it costs per girl to play. For a bunch of clubs out there - the first 18 cover the costs for the year. Anything after that generally goes to paying coaches - then the club owner's pockets. If you can get 26 parents to buy into paying the money to be on a team - why stop at 18?
Finally someone looking at the math. Club lacrosse is about making money for these directors it isn't charity. Many of these clubs make $50-$100k just running tryouts. They are all very smart. They know up to 28 on a team is an absolute joke but they do it for the cash. They all know a dedicated team of 18 is all they need. East to sub, easy to have like ability kids, easy everything. 26-28 is good for only one thing making them rich. And most of these clubs don't pay their coaches much. Its all going in the directors pockets. I think that's why you are seeing the C and D teams disappearing. People know its an absolute scam. And don't forget that these same directors run the tournaments, direct their teams there and then double dip!
And it will only get worse since the girls have an extra few years added to the "recruiting time". Extra time for the clubs to dangle that carrot in front of the parents.
With the new paradigm you are nuts if you start playing travel lax before 7th grade, college coaches, who have their own agenda, have said as much