And while the Card’s trip east was an important gauntlet for the girls from the Farm, the sport of lacrosse inexorably headed west. In one week, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) has grown by two members, with San Diego State officially joining the MPSF on Friday and USC’s announcement that it will be starting Division I men’s and women’s lacrosse programs.
San Diego State’s women’s lacrosse program has been a club team since 2003, but the jump to Division I is a big move for the Aztecs. The program named former Stanford assistant Kylee White as its head coach. White helped guide the Card to three MPSF championships. Under her watch, Stanford became the first program west of the Mississippi River to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament. San Diego State will become the eighth team to join the MPSF, and will play a full conference schedule starting in 2012.
Perhaps the most significant step in the westward expansion of lacrosse as a whole is USC lacrosse teams becoming Division I programs. New USC president C.L. Max Nikias announced the move last Monday.
“Pretty soon we are going to announce that we will introduce a women’s lacrosse team, Division I, at USC,” Nikias said to USC news source Annenberg TV News. “We are in the process of recruiting the coach for the team and then we will make the announcement.”
Stanford, Oregon and Cal are all in the MPSF, and USC is expected to join the conference as well.
Nikias also commented that the Trojans would add a Division I men’s lacrosse team in the next three to five years. Should the Trojans follow through with the D-I men’s lacrosse program, they would only be the third men’s Division I program west of the Mississippi River (the others are Air Force and the University of Denver), a huge step toward expanding the game in California.