March 28, 2012

Lake Erie to Join Newly Formed ECAC Lacrosse League in 2013

CENTERVILLE, Mass.–  Lake Erie College will be one of the founding members of the newly formed Eastern College Athletic Conference Division II Lacrosse League which will officially begin play with the 2013 season. ECAC commissioner Rudy Keeling Tuesday (March 27) announced the formation of the new eight-team NCAA Division II men's lacrosse conference.

The founding members based in four states include Alderson-Broaddus College (Philippi, W. Va.); Lake Erie (Painesville, Ohio); Lindenwood University (Saint Charles, Mo.); Mercyhurst College (Erie, Pa.); Ohio Valley University (Vienna, W.Va.); Seton Hill University (Greensburg, Pa.); Walsh University (North Canton, Ohio); and Wheeling Jesuit University (Wheeling, W.Va.).

"We are excited to bring this new eight-team league under the ECAC umbrella," Commissioner Keeling said. "Not only does the addition of the Division II Lacrosse League add quality schools to our membership, it increases our presence in Division II and dramatically expands our footprint. I – like our new members – can't wait to start the 2013 season."

Lake Erie is in its third year of men's lacrosse this spring.  The program was launched with the hiring of head coach Greg Stocks in December 2007 and has competed in the East Coast Conference during each of its first three seasons.  After winning three contests in its inaugural season with a roster comprised almost entirely of first-year college players, the Storm improved to 7-7 a year ago and finished seventh in the ECC.

Lake Erie is 2-3 (0-2 ECC) to date this season with a win on the road at nationally-ranked Pfeiffer University.  The Storm was ranked as high as tenth earlier this season in the LaxPower.com national computer rankings and received votes in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Division II Coaches' Poll on March 12. 

"We are very excited about the formation of this conference that brings together great institutions with fantastic lacrosse programs and has a name that is recognizable by not only those in the lacrosse community, but all of college athletics," said Stocks.  

The creation of the ECAC Division II Lacrosse League provides a home base for the Storm that is much more geographically in line with the rest of Lake Erie's 23-sport program.  The Long Island-based ECC is made up of nine schools from New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.  Travel to those schools often resulted in lengthy trips spread out over several days for the team.

"The ECAC Division II lacrosse league instantly provides national recognition and very competitive competition opportunities for Lake Erie," said Director of Athletics Griz Zimmermann. "The geographic footprint of the conference will aid the overall student-athlete experience for many of the teams by reducing missed class time and travel and continue some highly entertaining series we have had with the other member institutions in our program's brief history."

Lake Erie, Mercyhurst, Seton Hill and Wheeling Jesuit all pervious belonged to the ECC as associate members in men's lacrosse only.  All other Lake Erie sports compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), which does not sponsor men's lacrosse as a championship sport. 

About the ECAC®
 The ECAC is the nation's largest athletic and only multi-divisional conference in the country with approximately 300 Division I, II and III colleges and universities. The ECAC stretches from Maine to North Carolina and westerly to Colorado. Established in 1938, the ECAC, a non-profit service organization, sponsors nearly 100 championships in 27 men's and women's sports and assigns more than 4,400 officials in 12 sports. The ECAC also administers nine affiliate sports organizations and six playing leagues, and more than 2,000 student-athletes are recognized annually through the public relations arm of the conference. Finally, the ECAC serves as the primary conference for select members in the sports of men's ice hockey, women's ice hockey and men's lacrosse.

-LEC-