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UWRF women’s lacrosse makes league playoffs

April 20, 2012

Though they face numerous challenges being a club sport, the UW-River Falls women’s lacrosse team has continued to excel over the past few years.

The team finished the regular season with a 10-3 overall record including a 5-1 mark in their conference, the North Central Women’s Lacrosse League. Of those 10 victories, three of them came about by the opposing team forfeiting. Junior captain and president of the club, Nicole Hancock, said that these things happened a lot this season.

“We had a lot of forfeits. Either they don’t have enough players or didn’t have drivers. The stories I hear are crazy,” Hancock said.

The forfeited games are just one example of the obstacles faced by a club lacrosse team. The biggest obstacle is the issue of money. Being a club sport, the team does not receive funding as a Division III UWRF team would. They do receive around $4,000 in funding from the Allocable Fees Appropriation Board (AFAB) though Hancock said that number varies from year to year. The rest of the money needed to operate the club comes from the players and that can be difficult, said junior captain Heather Schenck.

“It’s tough getting money out of players’ pockets especially since they have college and things to pay for,” Schenck said.

The money goes to pay for a myriad of expenses such as conference and national dues, travel, tournament fees, hotels, referees, uniforms, equipment, and facility costs. One thing it does not pay for is a coach. The team currently has two part-time volunteer coaches who are women that used to play on the team.

One way to lower the amount of money that players would have to pay would be for women’s lacrosse to become a university-sanctioned Division III sport. Neither Hancock nor Schenck were particularly optimistic about the chances of that happening soon though.

“Lacrosse is an east coast sport. There are not that many teams in the area so our travel costs would be more expensive than any other sport,” Hancock said. “We’ll be long gone before it happens unfortunately.”

“I guess I don’t see it happening, five to 10 years out maybe,” Schenck said.

Despite these difficulties, the team finished the regular season ranked number 30 out of the 166 teams in their class according to the April 17 laxpower.com poll. The UWRF team hosted a tournament on April 14 and 15 at the intramural fields. There were 24 teams involved and Hancock said that it went well except for the St. Cloud State University team attempting to steal a UWRF sign.

They were caught and they did apologize, said Hancock. The team also made the NCWLL playoffs that will take place April 21 and April 22 at a site to be determined. The team will most likely play multiple games each day.

The winner of the NCWLL playoffs receives an automatic invite to their classes’ national tournament. All of the schools in the NCWLL are in one class except for the University of Minnesota which is in a higher class. As a result, this led to the U of M winning the league and receiving the automatic invite the past two years according to the NCWLL website.

When asked about the team’s chances in the playoffs, Hancock kept her reply short.

“I hope we do well,” she said. The UWRF men’s lacrosse team is also in season. They are currently ranked 19 out of the 33 teams in the Great Lakes Lacrosse League.