It started out last year as a long shot. Trying to find enough athletes to field a team for a sport that most Texans have never heard of seemed an impossible task. However, the long shot scored, and now the club lacrosse team is a member of a college league.
UMHB lacrosse was admitted to the Lone Star Alliance Lacrosse League recently. The Crusaders will be part of the LSA’s Division II, which consists of nine other teams in the Texas/Louisiana/Oklahoma area.
“Being in the league, it’s going be a lot more exciting, a lot more competitive, and (take) real drive to actually compete and win,” junior marketing major Alfredo Rojas said. “Hopefully, it will be a better experience overall for the team. It’s a good way to get organized.”
The LSA lacrosse season will start Jan. 26. Games will take place on four different weekends with two games played each weekend.
Cru lacrosse’s competition last year was limited to scrimmages because they were not affiliated with any league. Now players will be able to have a set schedule with chances at playoffs through the LSA.
“It’s going to help the school overall because it gets our name out there more,” junior business major and president Rowdy Gillis said.
Last year the club was founded as a school organization, scheduling seven games last year and finishing the year with two victories.
“Last year was kind of chaotic and unorganized,” Rojas said. “I’m looking to get a real team with some real wins on the schedule.”
Despite some bumps along the road, lacrosse is back for another season. With Gillis as new president leading the charge, the club hopes to build its success.
“Last year was in disarray,” Gillis said. “We didn’t have real organized practices. We’re going to be more organized this year. We’re going to approach this professionally.”
The club is run by the players. Members of the LSA were impressed by the team who often fielded a team of around 10 players last season, the minimum number necessary.
“Last year, even with the odds against us, we still stepped on the field to compete,” Gillis said.
LSA members applauded the effort shown by the Cru.
They have already started practices, but team members are busy searching for new players to join their team. They say that no experience is required to join.
“I saw a sign for it (lacrosse) in Hardy and ignored it,” freshman exercise sports science major Ryan Ramirez said. “Then my friend Josh told me I should try it out.”
Gillis hopes that with the added exposure through the LSA, more high school lacrosse players may come to the university so they can be a part of Cru lacrosse.
“There are a lot of good lacrosse players in Texas that want to play in college, but there’s not a whole lot of places to actually go,” Gillis said. “We can give them the opportunity to continue playing a lacrosse career in college at a great school.”
Members are eager to share their love for the sport with the campus. They hope to create a larger fan base this season despite not having a home field.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Gillis said. “It’s the fastest growing sport in America right now. It’s a high speed game with a lot of contact. It gets intense. If that’s what you’re into, come out here and give it a shot.”