Four decades ago the Navy and John Hopkins played the first college Lacrosse game. Now, the sport that was once a niche only in New England and the Middle Atlantic, has spread across the country, down into Texas, as far west as California and Washington, and has even come here to Drake University.
While not recognized as a club sport until last spring, efforts to start the team began in the fall of 2007, when Ben Shoff and Rien Zabor, now president and vice president, respectively, met at orientation and got to talking about their previous lacrosse experiences.
“We talked about lacrosse, and the possibility of starting a team,” Shoff said. “We played catch every once and a while in Helmick, and a few people came up interested in lacrosse, and from there we decided to start a team.”
There were no tryouts. Anyone who was interested, whether they had played in high school or had never touched a lacrosse stick before, was welcome.
“We have gathered a lot of old equipment, so most people can try out the sport for free,” Shoff explained.
“We like to keep the practices pretty low-key, because we want to have fun,” Zabor said. “We do a couple drills, do some scrimmaging, and hang out.”
While lacrosse’s official season is in the spring, the team has a few games this fall, playing Cornell College from Mount Vernon, the University of Iowa and Creighton University from Omaha, Neb.
Currently, the sport is at the club level, competing in the Great Lakes Lacrosse League (GLLL), which consists of teams from around
the Midwest, and includes schools such as UW-Madison, University of Chicago, Michigan Tech and Notre Dame.
“We’re hoping to bump up the Men’s Club Lacrosse Association (MCLA), which includes teams from all around the nations,” Zabor explained.
The super-sport, which combines aspects of hockey, basketball and soccer, has seen a dramatic increase in popularity over the years.
“I anticipate it being a school sanctioned sport within the next 10 years, due to lacrosse’s increasing popularity as teams are sprouting up throughout the Midwest,” Shoff said. “In fact, each year our freshman classes get bigger in terms of lacrosse players.”
One of the challenges the lacrosse team faces is getting its name out there.
“There is a lack of knowledge about lacrosse at Drake,” Zabor said. “Not a lot of people know about it or have played it, and so we’re working on trying to teach people, to teach Drake, and the players that are coming out how to play and become a better team.”
For more information on the club, e-mail Zabor at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out the club’s website at: https://sites.google.com/site/dulacrosse10/home.
Photo: Rien Zabor