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Women’s lacrosse is coming to Wartburg College in 2015 under the reigns of new coach Danielle Fiala. With the new sport beginning, many challenges are present.
“If you look at the numbers, women’s lacrosse and lacrosse in general is the fastest growing sport that they have in the NCAA. Specifically the women, when you look at the growth and its moving west and we felt as an institution we’d probably be ahead of the curve in terms of adding it and getting it established,” associate athletic director Monica Severson said. “We also feel as an institution it allows us to recruit in areas that we maybe haven’t been able to recruit as well in previous years.”
Fiala believes that creating a team from the ground up will be a challenge.
One challenge she is currently facing is fielding a team. She said she has been sending out emails to anyone and everyone and is relying on high school coaches to recommend players to her as well as encourage students to visit Wartburg.
With the lack of lacrosse popularity in Iowa, Fiala is forced to look elsewhere.
Recently, she made a trip to Minnesota. With such a huge lacrosse population and a limited amount of colleges in the state that have lacrosse, Minnesota in an untapped resource. She is also focusing on Illinois, Colorado, St. Louis and other large cities.
Fiala is hoping that her connections with the two high schools she previously coached at and the club she worked at in Illinois will provide her with recruits.
Other challenges the women’s lacrosse team will run into is how young their team will be, and the dynamic of the team because of the players’ inexperience.
Lacrosse is often a second sport for most women athletes.
“With girls active in other sports, they do not have an offseason which means less time for them to perfect their lacrosse skills,” Fiala said.
The new lacrosse coach has been thrilled with Wartburg’s encouragement and hopes with their help the women’s lacrosse team will overcome these challenges.
“Wartburg in general has been a very supportive school for starting a new program. The fact that they want to build a field means they are dedicated,” Fiala said.
“Having our own field is a huge recruiting asset, so that’s going to be something that we are going to look forward to.”
When it comes to expectations, Fiala is just looking for hard working players.
“We’re going to keep fighting, we’re going to be the underdogs,” Fiala said. “But we’ll get there and just sticking to the sport that we love is important.”