Lacrosse club drives toward playoff goalBy Brett Hudson | 01/23/2011 11:16pm
The Alabama lacrosse club was established on campus in 1985 and had some success in the early 1990s, beating Auburn three times in a row and winning the Southeastern Lacrosse Conference in 1993. The club began to fade away, but has put together resurgence in the last five years.
The team is only five years removed from a winless season, but last year the Crimson Tide had its first winning season in what was its first year as a Division I team of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association.
Going into this year, the team has only one goal: playoffs.
“[Making the playoffs] is very doable,” captain Stewart Moore said. “The talent is there, we just have to make it happen.”
Jason Hebert had slightly more confidence about the Tide’s chances.
“It’s in the bag,” Hebert said.
The SELC has four divisions with five teams in each one. After the regular season, the top two teams in each division get selected to play in a tournament for the SELC Championship. The SELC Champions play for the national championship in the MCLA, an intercollegiate lacrosse organization with 210 schools involved, all of which do not have an NCAA lacrosse team.
Alabama is in a division with Ole Miss, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Auburn. Alabama beat Auburn last year for the first time since 1993 and looks to continue on to a division championship and success in the playoffs.
The SELC has all Southeastern Conference schools other than Arkansas and LSU, and also includes 10 Atlantic Coast Conference schools and a few Big East schools.
The sport of lacrosse, although not enjoying widespread popularity in the southern United States, is widely recognized as the fastest growing sport in the nation and the fastest sport on two feet.
Alabama head coach Matt Darby sees the sport as a combination of the best aspects of other sports.
“It’s like the physicality of hockey on a soccer field with the offensive and defensive mentality of basketball,” Darby said.
Joining the lacrosse team here at the Capstone is relatively easy. They say that most of the time, when players wear Alabama lacrosse gear on campus, out-of-state students notice and ask to sign up. Just ask Bobby Cofield; he had never played lacrosse before setting foot on campus.
“I played football throughout high school,” Cofield said. “This was the only sport that I could play and still hit people.”
No matter how experienced the players may or may not be, Moore is always looking to take the program to the next level.
“We’d like to play our games at the women’s soccer field,” Moore said. “Hopefully we can attract a bigger fanbase that way, get more people to the games.”
Hebert has another high expectation for that goal, too.
“I just want to be on the Jumbotron,” Hebert said.
The Tide will play six home games this season, starting off with a game against Georgia Tech on Feb. 13. Alabama will then play at home against Georgia, Tennessee-Chattanooga and Rinehardt on March 5, 25 and 27, respectively.
The Tide’s last game in Tuscaloosa will be on April 2 versus Ole Miss, with its last in-state game being in Birmingham against Auburn on April 15.
All home games excluding Auburn will be played at the University Recreation Fields.
For those interested in playing lacrosse for Alabama, you can contact Moore, Hebert or Darby. They also have a website, tidelax.ialax.com. The Facebook page is called Alabama Lacrosse Club and their Twitter account is @tidelax.