Daily Archives: May 13, 2011
Southern California High School Lacrosse: CIF-Southern Section Boys And Girls Lacrosse Championship Finals Feature Redondo Union Girls Lacrosse Vs Los Alamitos And Foothill Knights Boys Lacrosse Vs Mira Costa On May 14
NCAA Lacrosse Championships: Denver Men’s Lacrosse (13-2) Hosts Villanova (11-4) In First Round Match On May 15
NCAA Lacrosse: The Rise Of Florida Women’s Lacrosse Is Proof That New Lacrosse Programs In South And Far West Can Attract Top Recruits With “Great Weather” And “State-Of-The-Art” Facilities
The Gators’ inaugural freshman class was considered one of the nation’s best. Sixteen of the current players are from Maryland, five are from New York and two are from New Jersey.
The Gators, who are 15-3 and seeded No. 4 in the N.C.A.A. tournament, will face Stanford in a first-round game Saturday.
“We’re fast, we’re strong, we’re athletic, and we’re all really tan,” said the sophomore attack Kitty Cullen, who is second in the nation with 71 goals.
Florida avoided many of the growing pains associated with a new team, even in a sport much of the university was unfamiliar with. The Gators have 12 full lacrosse scholarships, the N.C.A.A.’s maximum allotment, and they play in a new $15 million stadium.
“We had a desire to add a sport that competed for national championships,” Florida’s athletic director, Jeremy Foley, said. “But even I didn’t see it happening this quickly.”
There were no Division I college lacrosse teams in Florida five years ago when the Gators announced plans to start their program. In 2007, before a stadium was built or lacrosse sticks were purchased, Foley hired Amanda O’Leary, who had gone 162-65 in 14 seasons as Yale’s coach.
“It’s quite a jump she has made taking that program from something that didn’t exist to what it already is now,” Yale’s athletic director, Tom Beckett, said.
O’Leary, who was an all-American at Temple and is a member of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame, gave the athletic department a primer on the sport. She also took a PowerPoint presentation to local retirement homes, rotary clubs and community groups.
Although O’Leary had to persuade recruits to join a team that had not been created yet, she did not lower her standards. She returned to the Northeast and aggressively pursued the nation’s top high school players.
“We told the girls, ‘Listen, we don’t have a tradition yet, but we didn’t start lacrosse for a one-year thing; this is forever,’ ” O’Leary said. “ ‘You just have to take a chance.’ ”
When recruits visited Florida’s campus, there were no current players to meet, so O’Leary pointed out that most of them would start as freshmen. The stadium was not built yet, so the recruits were shown the football team’s weight room.
They were also reminded that when practices were held in February, Florida would be sunny and warm while much of the lacrosse world would probably be snow-covered.