(From Contra Costa Times Article) There are, according to statistics compiled by the California Interscholastic Federation, 7,365 boys playing high school lacrosse statewide. That’s more than triple the total from just six years ago.
Meanwhile, there are zero colleges sponsoring men’s teams at the Division I level west of Colorado.
For North Carolina and Brown, both top-20 caliber programs, that was reason enough to agree to participate in the first San Francisco Fall Lacrosse Classic, set for Saturday at Kezar Stadium (3 p.m.).
“This is an emerging market of lacrosse. It’s becoming a recruiting hotbed,” said Brown coach Lars Tiffany, whose roster includes freshman Parker Brown of University High in San Francisco. “Obviously, we have one, and we want more.”
“We all dream to see the continued growth of the game,” Carolina coach Joe Breschi said. “There could be an 8- or 9-year old who will watch this game and then put on a Brown jersey or a North Carolina jersey, and someday become a great player.”
Promoters of the match, who are expecting between 3,000 and 4,000 fans, note this is the first game played in Northern California pitting two nationally ranked Division I teams. Because collegiate lacrosse is a spring sport, the game is an exhibition, but both coaches are taking the event seriously.
Braden Edwards of the Bay Area Youth Sports Foundation, which is sharing travel expenses of the two teams, said groups from as far away as Orange County, Chico and Yuba City have purchased tickets.
While the game is mushrooming at every other level on the West Coast, finances and Title IX gender-equity concerns make it unlikely the sport will come to Pac-10 schools soon. Tiffany said the most recent BCS football school to add lacrosse was Notre Dame in 1982.
That means top young talent developed in the Bay Area will head East to play in college. De La Salle High graduate Nick Richards is a freshman at Penn, and Rob Emery of St. Ignatius-San Francisco, rated the No. 3 prospect in the nation by Inside Lacrosse magazine, will attend Virginia a year from now.
Ross Rudow, a senior at San Ramon Valley, has committed to Cornell, and De La Salle’s Sean Mullin, son of former Warriors star Chris Mullin, will play next year at Bryant University in Rhode Island.
“We don’t have to compete with Stanford right now,” Tiffany said. “Maybe someday we will.”