By Jennifer Hendriksen
The Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are gearing up for an exciting spring season.
Though new to PBA athletics, lacrosse is quickly gaining popularity on campus.
Women’s lacrosse coach Kelsey Wright has high hopes for the team, although it is only their first official year together.
“We are a brand new team, but there is a lot of potential to do well,” Wright said. “The team works very hard and has already exceeded my expectations.”
“Last year we never really had a team,” said Emily Seeman, one of the team’s captains. “We had about five to eight girls come out and just throw around and we talked about a team for next year.”
Team spirit, as well as the number of players participating, has increased dramatically this year.
“This year’s team has a lot more dedication and depth than last year,” said Alycia
Britton, also a captain on the team. “Since we now have a coach, we have been able to get a legitimate team together of serious players.”
The women’s lacrosse team practices twice a week with games on Sundays, and their spring schedule is loaded with challenging and competitive games.
“I am super excited for the games to come in the spring when we get to play other college club teams like Texas Tech, Coastal Carolina and maybe even Auburn,” Seeman said. “We have some amazing girls and all great personalities which makes the sport fun.”
The growth of the lacrosse community at PBA has been rapid, with greater attendance at games last year and a huge increase of members on both teams.
“Since in a few years lacrosse will become an official PBA sport, it is important to grow interest and skills now,” Britton said. “We also have been working with the guys in gaining support for PBA lacrosse. The teams have a Bible study together every week as we are trying to build the lacrosse community.”
The men’s lacrosse team is also aware of the growing interest in lacrosse on the PBA campus.
“I am very excited about our potential to win games and make an impact within our conference, the SELC, and the league, MCLA, but even more excited about how this year has started off spiritually,” men’s captain Andrew Lockhart said. “We have jumped straight into Bible studies and are pushing to become the best men of Christ we can.”
While a focus on the spiritual growth of the lacrosse community is a priority, captain Jayson Schmidt also made it clear that the team is working hard to succeed on the field this season.
“Our expectations for this season are very high,” Schmidt said. “This season should result in nothing less than a trip to our conference tournament and hopefully a championship.”
Like the women’s team, the men’s lacrosse team has undergone some major changes from last year.
In regards to the changes, returning sophomore Ethan Palmquist has a positive outlook.
“We lost a few leaders in our seniors this year, but it’s cool to see who is going to be stepping up and being a role model,” Palmquist said. “We’ve got some talented freshmen and transfers coming in so the level of play is really going to increase quickly.”
The team placed first in their division last year, and now hopes to take that success even farther. They are currently ranked at tenth for their preseason division standings.
The men’s season kicks off on Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. against the Citadel. The women’s schedule has not yet been announced. Preseason scrimmages are held every every Wednesday and Saturday at Lake Park.
For more information, visit the PBA lacrosse Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/pbalacrosse.