Tag Archives: Growth of Lacrosse

NCAA Lacrosse: Colorado Women’s Lacrosse Builds Inaugural Program Around Northwestern Tradition And “Crazy Growth Of Girls Lacrosse” In Colorado

Colorado Women's Lacrosse

The Buffs will join the four other Pac-12 women’s lacrosse programs (Southern Cal, Stanford, Oregon and California) in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, which also includes the University of Denver. The Pac-12 will sanction women’s lacrosse once a sixth team is added, according to Colorado associate athletic director Julie Manning, who was largely responsible for bringing women’s lacrosse to CU.

This spring, eight new programs started across the country, including at Southern California. In 2014 the number of Division 1 programs will reach 102 with the addition of Michigan and Colorado, and by 2016, three more teams, Furman, Mercer and Central Michigan, will up that number to 105.

Colorado Women's Lacrosse Head Coach Ann Elliott

Colorado Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach And Northwestern Lacrosse Alum Ann Elliott

This fall as a gaggle of eager freshmen arrive on campus in Boulder, a group of 20 women will also arrive, ready to make history as the inaugural members of the University of Colorado women’s lacrosse team.

All 20 women are young, new to college and new to Division 1 lacrosse. Head coach Ann Elliott says she’s anxious to get onto the field with her team, which will begin play next spring.

“In all honesty, one of the biggest challenges has just been not having a team right now,” she said. “We’re used to being on the field all the time and seeing that progress with the kids.”

Developing a group of green 17- and 18-year-olds will be a challenge, Elliott knows. But the huge grin across her face as she talks animatedly about her new team doesn’t give away any nerves the young coach might have about starting a program from scratch. Elliott, 28, was hired last spring after the CU athletic department announced it would add women’s lacrosse as its 17th varsity sport.

Manning and the athletic department began talking about adding a sport before CU finalized its move to the Pac-12 two years ago.

The conversation kept coming back to women’s lacrosse, Manning said, because it made sense given the university’s needs and current facilities. It’s a spring women’s sport, growing quickly on the West Coast and in Colorado and eventually the university could sell tickets to matches, Manning said.

Colorado Girls Lacrosse Association President Kevin Mortimer said the sport is growing “like crazy” in Colorado, especially on the girl’s side. He coaches the Grandview High School girls lacrosse team in Aurora, which has doubled in size in the last year. He’s even adding a third “C” level development team to help with the overflow, he said.

Manning and other administrators visited Denver and talked with Stanford, Northwestern and Virginia to see what building the program would look like at a time when other schools are facing athletic budget cuts.

“As an administrator, this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Manning said. “Not many institutions are adding any sort of sports programs. Many institutions are going the other way.”

Colorado has the support of the university and hype from the state’s lacrosse fans, but Elliott will still face the challenge of acclimating 20 women to collegiate life and Division 1 lacrosse without upperclassmen mentors to look to for guidance.

Four of the new players come from Colorado, while the rest are from a mix of East Coast states, California and the Midwest.

Nielsen said it didn’t take much to convince many recruits to commit to Colorado once they saw the campus. It helped that Elliott, Nielsen and Magarity had a handful of national titles between them, and spoke about unanimous lacrosse philosophies.

“When we’re talking to recruits, we all agree with what everyone’s saying because we’ve been part of the same program and we have the same beliefs,” Nielsen said. “We’ve got that unique experience that not a lot of coaching staffs out there have. We know what works. We’ve been part of national championships. We know the right way to do things.”

Nielsen said she’s looking forward to starting new traditions at Colorado, an opportunity most coaches don’t get with an existing program, and said her expectations for the team’s first season next year are high.

For more:  http://www.dailycamera.com/cu-college-sports/ci_22700755/womens-lacrosse-ann-elliott-itching-get-field-cu

WCLA Lacrosse: USC Women’s Lacrosse (Club) Is 8-1 And Reflects “Booming” Lacrosse Growth In Southern California And Western U.S.

USC Women's Lacrosse Club Team

The club team’s success comes as the university has inaugurated its Division I varsity women’s program. Those Trojans opened against Northwestern — coach Lindsey Munday’s alma mater — on Feb. 9 and stand at 2-2 this season. Combined with USC Club’s “B” team, more than 100 women are playing organized lacrosse on the USC campus.

Lacrosse is booming these days in sunny Southern California, and USC Club (8-1) is riding a wave of momentum right into the WCLA Division I postseason picture.

The Trojans were busy in February. After an opening-day loss to UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 26 that was the team’s first significant work together since fall ball, USC ran off eight straight wins in February and is ranked No. 13 in the first coaches poll of the season.

“After that first game, I was pretty disheartened,” junior midfielder Madison Boutilier said. “We let that game go, keeping in mind what we did wrong, what we needed to become and took the rest of the season in stride.”

This is Boutilier’s first full season with the club team. She tried out for the team her freshman and sophomore years, but scheduling conflicts forced her to focus on school and drop lacrosse. Boutilier spent a semester last year practicing with the varsity squad, but couldn’t make the time commitment to play.

This year, the timing worked out.

“I really missed winning,” she said. “I really missed going out and defeating another team with people you love to play with.”

The eight wins match the most the program has ever won in a single season — with two months left to play in the regular season.

“I’m ready to make USC Club lacrosse history with my team, and I think this is the year that we’re going to do that,” Trojans fifth-year goalie Madison Aguirre said. “We decided in the summer that we were going to be a playoff team.”

USC typically frontloads its schedule to work around the school’s spring break. It works out great when the team is doing well, but Aguirre said it has been deflating in past years when the team has nearly played itself out of playoff contention by March 1.

The Trojans were 6-5 in February last season and finished 7-8. Aguirre said last year’s team wasn’t ready to even consider a run at nationals.

For more:  http://www.laxmagazine.com/college_women/club/2012-13/news/030113_ucla_club_lacrosse_team_emerges_as_wcla_contender

Growth Of Lacrosse: NLL’s Washington Stealth Announce “We Are Washington Lacrosse” Campaign To Benefit Youth Lacrosse Club Teams

The Washington Stealth announced today the launch of a new marketing campaign geared toward uniting the local lacrosse community and growing the sport throughout Washington State. The campaign, entitled “We Are Washington Lacrosse”, kicks off this month with a contest to feature local teams on the 2013 Stealth season tickets and will continue with initiatives through the 2013 season. During the month of September, the Washington Stealth will be holding an online contest to select the photos that will appear on its 2013 season tickets. Fans will have the opportunity to vote online for their local lacrosse club with the top ten having their club represented by an action shot of one of its players.

The ticket photo contest will run throughout the month of September with voting closing on October 7. The ten winning clubs will be announced on October 10. Fans will submit an online form by clicking here, including their club affiliation, in order to vote. The contest is limited to one vote per email address.

The contest will also feature an individual prize and a club prize. One individual voter will be selected to win an autographed Stealth jersey. One lacrosse club that received at least one vote in the contest will be selected to have a pair of Stealth players attend a practice or clinic for the entire club.

“One of our missions at the Stealth is continuing the growth of lacrosse in the State of Washington,” said Stealth Vice President of Sales and Marketing Cory Howerton. “With the ‘We Are Washington Lacrosse’ initiatives, we are going to provide local youth, middle and high school lacrosse teams with opportunities to grow programs through exposure, fundraising and on-field clinics from our players. This is the first of a multi-dimensional program that will see us engage lacrosse at all levels throughout the year.”

NCAA Lacrosse: Impact Of Western And Canadian Lacrosse Players Has Increased Number Of Men’s Teams Competing For National Championship

“…this post-Stanwick/Canadian box inspired two-man era, teams just don’t necessarily need a premier Rabil-like midfielder, or a Powell-like attackman to draw slides and generate offense. Now, it’s all picking, re-picking, screening and big-little games from behind…”

Obviously, the spread of lacrosse has made more quality players available for more teams. And it’s not just raw athletes still trying to learn the sport. Slick-sticked offensive studs like Baum, Loyola’s Mike Sawyer (Waxhaw, N.C.), Hopkins’ Lee Coppersmith (Boca Raton, Fla.), Virginia’s Rob Emery (San Francisco, Calif.), Cornell’s Roy Lang (Mill Valley, Calif.) and North Carolina’s Thomas Wood (Dallas), all made an impact this season. And coaches continued to outsource various offensive duties to Canadians with alarming regularity.

Not only is there more talent, particularly offensive talent, to go around for more programs. Offensive sets have become smarter and more efficient and not as reliant on unique kinds of players.

In the early parts of the century, scoring goals in the post-season meant having premier athletes who could always run by their guy. Because those types of players are rare and generally easily identifiable in high school, they usually end up playing for a couple programs with history or warm weather or both. That’s why the Tewaaraton winner was almost always an offensive stud who just led his team to the championship. Ned Crotty, Mike Leveille, Kyle Harrison, Mike Powell and Matt Ward all fit the mold.

So a team like Denver can put the rest of the country on notice with a heavy dose of box influenced pick-and-rolls. Or Maryland– who relied on those grinding two-man games that could make paint dry — reached the final despite not having much of a bonafide offensive star. Loyola won the title when its two best offensive players, Eric Lusby and Sawyer, were of the planted-feet, catch-and-shoot variety.

The media-friendly “parity” meme has been hashed and re-hashed. Usually there hasn’t been much to pin it on other than some early-season upsets or a rogue school making some playoff noise. Whether Loyola’s win was just be a right mix of lock-down defensive midfielders, veteran leadership, and some slingers on offense, or the ushering in of a new era remains to be seen.

But as the nation’s talent base grows and early recruiting makes it even harder to identify who the best kids are; and as offenses continue to find ways to score settled goals without “Rabil-esque” midfielders, winning will likely be even harder to contain to the upstate New York, ACC or Homewood sightlines.

For more:  http://www.laxmagazine.com/college_men/DI/2011-12/news/061112_uncensered_parity_maybe_growth_definitely_in_division_i_mens_lacrosse

NCAA Lacrosse: Michigan Men’s Lacrosse Established The “Club Program To Varsity” Lacrosse Model; Will Other Schools Follow?

Michigan didn’t start a brand-new men’s program, but transitioned its supremely talented club squad to varsity.

With Michigan’s addition, the Big Ten now has three teams, which is not enough for the conference to officially add the sport, but enough to land men’s lacrosse on its television channel: on April 14, the Big Ten Network is expected to air the Michigan-Ohio State game. Will Michigan State, which has a well-developed club program, be spurred to action?

But as with most college sports, money talks. Lacrosse is not a revenue-generating sport, which doesn’t exactly compel athletic directors to support it. Besides financing the men’s team, new women’s teams are often added to comply with Title IX.

This isn’t unusual in college sports — most recently, Penn State moved its men’s and women’s club ice hockey programs to Division I, thanks to a single $88 million check. Lacrosse, however, has traditionally seen new Division I men’s programs build from the ground up, as at Marquette and High Point, which start play in 2013.

Michigan may be an anomaly now, but there are many more successful lacrosse clubs out there, especially at Football Bowl Subdivision universities like Arizona State, Brigham Young, Oregon and Texas.

“A lot of these big schools out west have the opportunity to build lacrosse tradition,” said Brian Myers, University of Texas’s club coach. “Hopefully, Michigan is just the first domino.”

These colleges are looking at Michigan and wondering, just how do we do this ourselves?

For starters, it would help to have a dedicated club coach with deep community roots, like Michigan’s John Paul, and someone like Dave Brandon, the university’s receptive athletic director.

“Money doesn’t solve everything, but it’s an integral piece, especially at these big schools,” said Paul, who helped raise $5 million to make the varsity move.

For more:  http://thequad.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/where-michigan-goes-in-lacrosse-will-others-follow/

NCAA Lacrosse: University Of Colorado Women’s Lacrosse Elevated To NCAA Div I Status On Growth And Success Of State’s Club And High School Lacrosse Programs

CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn cites that trend, as well as the interest generated by organizations such as Team 180 Sports, the state’s premier club program, as making CU’s move toward lacrosse a natural. In last November’s early national signing period for the Class of 2012, 19 members of Team 180 accepted scholarship offers from schools that rank among the heavyweights of college lacrosse. When everything is in place, CU believes it can look in its backyard for many of its top prospects, competing only with DU in Division I for talent that wants to stay in-state.

For the first time in 16 years, the University of Colorado is adding a new sport – and from all indications, the fit will be as natural for Boulder as the Flatirons.

Women’s lacrosse is joining CU’s athletic lineup, with competition scheduled to begin in the spring of 2014. The addition of women’s lacrosse will push CU’s number of sports to 17, a figure that includes women’s competition in basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, golf, skiing, cross country and track and field.

Before briefing the school’s Board of Regents on Wednesday night, Athletic Director Mike Bohn said the presence of a “strong (lacrosse) club team on campus reflects a strong interest from students, but more importantly it’s the fastest growing sport within the state of Colorado amongst girls.”
Bohn added, “We recognize the importance of bolstering our participation numbers and meeting our Title IX obligations.”

For budgetary reasons, CU cut seven sports in 1980 and another (men’s tennis) in 2005. However, three women’s sports were added – volleyball (1986), golf (1994), and soccer (1996).

Why add women’s lacrosse and not another sport? Bohn and Associate Athletic Director Julie Manning said six or seven other sports were scrutinized before the department settled on lacrosse.

“We factored in the weather and the fact that it’s a spring sport and the existing facilities and infrastructure that exist within our program,” Bohn said. “All of that provides an appropriate fit for us to take advantage of the growth in the state and the popularity of the sport.”

And there’s no doubting that lacrosse’s popularity is on the rise at the NCAA level and higher. According to a US Lacrosse Participation Survey in 2010, men’s and women’s lacrosse were the fastest growing sports at the NCAA level over the past five years. In 2010, a total of 32,431 players competed on club and varsity teams, up 2.6 percent from 2009. The number of men’s programs had increased 22.4 percent during that span, with the number of women’s programs rising 30.3 percent.

Also, lacrosse at the professional level in Denver – the Denver Outlaws of Major League Lacrosse (outdoor) and the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League (indoor) – has surged beyond being merely well-received. Inside Lacrosse magazine named Denver the nation’s No. 1 lacrosse city in 2009, and attendance figures justify it.

The Outlaws averaged 12,331 in 2011 – their sixth consecutive season of leading the MLL in attendance – while the Mammoth’s 15,037 average last season was second only to Buffalo (16,605) in the NLL.

At the club level in Colorado, no one has monitored the sport’s burgeoning popularity like Sam Bartron, who eight years ago founded Team 180 Sports and now is considered the in-state matriarch of women’s lacrosse.

During last November’s early signing period, 19 senior members of Bartron’s Team 180 accepted college scholarships. The breakdown: 15 are headed to NCAA Division I schools, one to Division II, three to Division III.

Of those 19 players, Bartron said only one was staying in-state (Regis), and Bartron wondered aloud what the presence of another Division I women’s program (CU joins the University of Denver) would do toward keeping homegrown talent at home.

“If (CU) had a program up and running, many of those girls would have considered it,” Bartron said. “The growth of the sport has been so fast in Colorado, it’s just unbelievable how quickly it’s happened. In just 10 years, it’s like, ‘Wow, it’s completely blossomed.’

“Hands down, this is one of the more exciting things that’s happened around here; it’s the best news I’ve heard in a long, long time. But the biggest piece of the news is the opportunity now for girls to play locally. This state produces a lot of top athletes; that’s good news for CU.”

And it should be for DU, she noted: “Competition breeds excellence. Having another Division I program ups the ante for everybody. It will be interesting to follow.”

Also, as pointed out by Danielle Bernstein – Inside Lacrosse’s Online Editor and a CU club lacrosse player and 2008 journalism graduate – the addition of another Division I lacrosse team in Colorado should benefit scheduling for both schools.

Wrote Bernstein: “Having two teams in the state gives teams traveling to Colorado more bang for their buck with the ability to get two games in over a couple of days versus making the trip and just getting a game against DU in.”

And like Bartron, Bernstein believes CU’s lacrosse staff will be able to take long satisfying looks in-state when the time arrives to begin recruiting. She believes the return looks from top Colorado prospects will be reciprocal.

“. . . a team at CU gives these (Colorado) players a place they can potentially continue their careers without having to look to the coasts in order to achieve their goals,” Bernstein wrote. “Should CU be able to capitalize on a strong talent pool within the state, while also pulling some players from more traditional hotbeds — which I would think is extremely feasible, have you seen the campus?! — they’ll be able to put together a competitive program from the beginning.”

The 15 members of Team 180’s Class of 2012 headed for Division I programs are bound for schools also boasting prestigious academics – Stanford, Duke, Princeton, to name three. Bartron is certain CU can offer competition on that front, too.

“What I’m seeing with lot of these athletes is that they’re headed to what you would call pretty good academic schools,” she said. “I think you could honestly say that Duke, Stanford and Princeton are on the high end academically . . . I think CU would be just as good a fit for them.”

A nationwide search for a coach will be conducted, said Bohn, adding CU already has had “significant interest from coaches across the country, which is certainly encouraging.”

Also, with a sport being added, there will be a trickledown effect in several areas of the CU athletic department. “We’re obviously evaluating the ability to enhance our strength and conditioning staff, our sports medicine staff, our sports information staff to accommodate this sport,” Bohn said. “(Lacrosse) will be a wonderful addition because many of those areas are stressed to the point where having additional help will be very beneficial.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for the university and for the lacrosse community to be able to work with us and be able to build something very special in the spring time that we’re very, very excited about.”


Q: When will competition begin?
A: Spring, 2014.

Q: Where will competition be held?
A: On campus, possibly at Kittredge Field, but the site is to be determined. Folsom Field’s current dimensions for football do not meet lacrosse specifications.

Q: Where will the lacrosse facilities, specifically locker rooms, be located?
A: Initially, the team is scheduled to use locker rooms/facilities at the Coors Events Center.

Q: How many scholarships are slotted for lacrosse?
A: 12.

Q: How large a roster will the lacrosse team have?
A: Typically, the roster numbers 25-28.

Q: How many coaches comprise a lacrosse staff?
A: Usually, a head coach and two assistants.

Q: What other in-state schools compete in women’s lacrosse?
A: The University of Denver on the Division I level, Regis and the Air Force Academy in Division II.

Q: Does the Pac-12 Conference include women’s lacrosse?
A: Yes. But only four schools – Stanford, California, Oregon and Southern California – have programs in place. USC announced in 2010 it would start a women’s program and begin competition in 2012-13.

Q: Does the Pac-12 crown a lacrosse champion?
A: No. The three Pac-12 schools that have women’s programs up and running for this spring compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with five other schools – DU, the University of California-Davis, Saint Mary’s, San Diego State and Fresno State. NCAA rules stipulate that a conference must have six participating teams to have an automatic tournament qualifier.

Q: How big is women’s lacrosse in Colorado?
A: Very – and it’s growing. CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn cites that trend, as well as the interest generated by organizations such as Team 180 Sports, the state’s premier club program, as making CU’s move toward lacrosse a natural. In last November’s early national signing period for the Class of 2012, 19 members of Team 180 accepted scholarship offers from schools that rank among the heavyweights of college lacrosse. When everything is in place, CU believes it can look in its backyard for many of its top prospects, competing only with DU in Division I for talent that wants to stay in-state.

Q: Is it common for Pac-12 schools to compete in different conferences in such instances?
A: Yes; there are many examples of this.  The Pac-12 doesn’t sponsor an indoor track championships, and those with programs compete in the MPSF.  The ski team competes in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA).  So it is quite common.

Q: Will CU immediately compete on the Division I level?
A: Yes; the inaugural game is a little over two years away as the NCAA lacrosse season begins in mid-February and runs through mid-May, with teams allowed 17 days of competition; most schedule 15 or 16 regular season games plus one or two exhibitions. 

Contact: BG.Brooks@Colorado.EDU

Growth Of NCAA Lacrosse: Colleges Added 232 Womens Lacrosse Programs Since 1989 (48 Div I); 115 Men’s Lacrosse Programs Added (3 Div I)

For more: http://ncaachampionmagazine.org/