Posted on February 26th, 2009
By Andrew Gascho, The WeatherVane student newspaper
The EMU Lacrosse Club started with the enthusiasm of Maplewood Resident Director Adam Houser.
First year EMU Lacrosse members Philip Tiezen and Mitch Yoder learn new skills and teamwork during daily practices. The EMU-Bridgewater team has two games remaining this season. (Photo: Andrew Gascho)
"I have played lacrosse since junior high. I actually played four years at Gordon College in Massachusetts," Houser said. "I missed playing a lot after college and am happy to be around it again."
Houser said he contacted EMU athletic director Dave King in the fall of 2007 to see if starting a lacrosse club would be possible.
"I’m sure that others wanted a lacrosse club before I got here, but I guess I had a lot to do with getting it started. [Club members] started just throwing around some. Then we got some equipment through the help of Rec. sports and also were able to have an intramural season last winter, which brought out quite a few people," he said. Learn more about intramurals at EMU
The club has grown from its humble beginnings with just a few members throwing around in the afternoon and now holds actual EMU club status.
Generous Donor Funds New Equipment
"At the end of last year we applied for and received club status through Student Programs and SGA. This past fall we played a little bit and actually got a large donation from a very generous person who wanted to see lacrosse grow at EMU. That donation allowed us to buy more equipment for the program," Houser said.
With new equipment in hand, the club practices everyday from five to seven on the turf. Many of the members of the club are new to the game and are learning the basics.
"The hardest thing [is] cradling the ball, I still am not real good at it," said first year Jesse Weaver, who is playing the sport of the first time.
According to e-lacrosse.com, cradling the ball is "the fluid side to side motion of the stick in order to maintain possession of the ball using its own gravity and inertia while running at full speed." Many of the other members agreed that this skill is the most difficult to learn.
Teaming with Rivals
Another challenge the Lacrosse Club faces is their small membership. EMU teams up with Bridgewater College to play games since they do not have enough members to field a full team.
"The hardest thing for me is that it seems like we aren’t on the same page with offensive and defensive strategy. I hope to sit down with their captains and set-up a better strategy for how to practice and play together," said Houser. In the future, the club hopes to have enough players to form its own team.
This past weekend, the combined EMU-Bridgewater team traveled to Farmville, Va., to play Longwood College. While the game was not close score-wise, it was good experience for the team.
"The score doesn’t really matter because it was the first game for a lot of the guys playing. But we learned a lot, and are definitely all better players because of the game," said Jesse Weaver.
First year Nate Weaver, also a first-time player, said he appreciates the mentoring Bridgewater players have offered him.
"Playing with Bridgewater has been great. They’re all so nice, and they bring tons of experience. Several have taken me under their wing and helped me out a lot," Nate Weaver said. Houser said he has already seen a lot of improvement in the team after just a week of practice.
"We have some good athletes that are really picking things up quick. I think as we continue to play we will be able to trust each other more to develop the plays together and not try to take things on our own," he said.
Houser said it is possible to have a superstar lacrosse player, but teamwork is still necessary for success.
"It really is a sport in which individuals can stand out, but at the same time for a team to be successful it needs to utilize everyone on the field. I am excited to see how each of the players begins to establish their roles on the team," said Houser.
In order to bring more awareness to the club and raise money, the club plans to sell t-shirts. The t-shirts will be available for purchase soon and can be purchased from any of the club members.
Houser also pointed out that Lacrosse Club is co-ed. "We are playing separately, since the men’s and women’s games are so different. We haven’t gotten a large amount of interest from women on campus, but if any women are interested in playing they can contact Valerie Helbert or Erin Reichart. We would love to see a women’s program develop alongside the men’s program," concluded Houser.
The Lacrosse Club has two more games scheduled, April 11 at Roanoke and April 14 at Bridgewater versus Christendom College.
Reprinted with permission from The WeatherVane, EMU’s student newspaper