Lacrosse gains popularity on the Plains
It may not be one of Auburn's biggest sports or the South's most popular game, but the men's lacrosse team is quickly gaining popularity on campus.
Established in the early 1980's by a couple of lacrosse fanatics, the Tiger's lacrosse team began across from Momma Goldberg's on a field shared with the rugby team. Today, the team and sport has grown in popularity, competing in the Division I Southeastern Lacrosse Conference against large schools such as Vanderbilt and Georgia.
"This season, I'm looking forward to traveling all around the Southeast to play against some really good lacrosse teams," said Logan Riley, junior goalie. "We make several trips to Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee this semester and I'm excited to see how all the hard work we've put into practicing four days a week stacks up to other teams."
Riley is entering his third season with the team and lacrosse is one of many activities he is involved with on campus. He is a chemistry major and lab assistant for concepts of science and along with being the goalie of the team, Riley is the public relations and hostesses coordinator.
The Lacrosse Hostesses are a group of girls that attend every home game and like to be known as the team's best fans. Each player has one or two "little sisters" that brings Gatorade and food to the games for the players. The two groups also enjoy numerous social functions with one another throughout the season.
"I love being a lacrosse hostess," said Sydney Pope, freshman hostess. "It's a really fun way to get involved with athletics and meet a lot of new people."
In the past few years the popularity of lacrosse has exploded across the country and the recognition has reached the Plains.
"I really do think lacrosse is growing in popularity. This season, we've got 21 freshmen playing on the team, as opposed to just four seniors, which says a lot about how more people are hearing about it," said Riley. "We've been able to mainly promote our games through word of mouth and social media and the game as a whole through working closely with the Auburn Youth Lacrosse league. Several of our players coach teams and ref in their spare time."
The University helps pay for some of the team's expenses including game and referee fees, but the players are required to pay dues for travel and hotel arrangements at the away games.
The men's lacrosse team began their season with a win Feb. 2 against Kennesaw State 13-6 and look forward to some of their big games this year. The team will play high profile games at the Hutsell Track Field in Auburn against Vanderbilt March 23, and Georgia April 7.