Original article link: http://www.unweagles.com/news/2014/3/31/WLAX_0331144810.aspx
ST. PAUL – The University of Northwestern is excited to announce the addition if its 19th varsity sport, women’s lacrosse, which will officially begin playing in the 2015-2016 academic year. Northwestern is just the second post-secondary institution in any of the NCAA’s three divisions in Minnesota to sponsor women’s lacrosse as a varsity sport.
Northwestern’s lacrosse team will practice and play in the university’s revamped Reynolds Field complex, a $10.7 million project that includes new artificially turfed fields and locker rooms in addition to new spaces for an athletic training room, updated bathrooms and a concession stand.
“Adding women’s lacrosse is a natural fit for Northwestern with our new facility offering and the institution’s 7&1×21 growth plan,” said Dr. Matt Hill, vice president for student life and athletics. Hill continued, “Offering lacrosse as a collegiate varsity sport makes sense as interest in the sport in our region has soared in recent years. We’re excited to feature lacrosse at the collegiate level for girls in Minnesota and the surrounding states who want to stay close to home after high school and continue to play their sport while continuing their education.”
83 Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) schools sponsor girls’ lacrosse with 3,354 participants contributing to those teams according to the league’s website. In addition to growing in Minnesota, the sport has caught fire nationwide in recent years. Based on findings from the latest US Lacrosse Participation Report, lacrosse is the fastest growing girls sport in the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS). In the five-year span of 2007 to 2012, the number of high schools that sponsored girls’ lacrosse increased from 1,480 to 2,118, a growth rate of 43.1 percent. Over 115,000 high school girls participated in lacrosse in 2012. In the last five years, lacrosse is the fastest growing sport at the NCAA level. More than 55 percent of the 444 NCAA Division III member institutions sponsor varsity lacrosse.
Like men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse competes primarily in the spring months with an 18-week season consisting of up to 17 official contests.
Northwestern recently opened its search for the university’s first head coach, a position that will be on-campus full time starting in the 2014-2015 academic year. In that individual’s first year, the head coach will be active recruiting the Eagles’ first team while purchasing equipment and scheduling the program’s inaugural season of competition. Interested candidates can apply here.