While the cold weather has yet to subside and January turns to
February, the Lake Erie College men's and women's lacrosse programs
are gearing up for their inaugural seasons.
The men's team, under head coach Greg Stocks, will get underway
on Feb. 27 at Lees-McRae College, while head coach Laura Maness'
women's team will play its first game on March 2.
"We're just ready to get into the season and play," Maness said.
"The anticipation is building for the athletes and for me."
Both teams started full practices in early January, preparing for
the season openers after months of work leading to this point.
"It almost eases your mind," Stocks said about getting on the
field. "Being on the field is where I like to be. We'll start to
see our progress."
After working for 18 months on the job, Maness will finally see
the first fruits of her recruiting labor. She has brought in 14
student-athletes for the inaugural season and hopes to build that
number to 22 when the 2011 season rolls around.
"We've made great strides in building from the ground-up and
establishing the foundation of this program," she said. "Every
recruit and every athlete is really excited to get going. From Day
1 of Fall Ball it's been a complete 180 from where we've started.
We're excited to see the progression as we get going through the
Maness and Stocks have been working hard to gather players they
know will benefit both the lacrosse program and the college.
"We wanted to bring good student-athletes into the program," Maness
said. "Not just strong players, but students with good grades and
students who will be good role models on campus. Those are the type
of people that will be vital to our success the next couple of
"We wanted athletes who were excited about being in a new program
and that start-up, kids looking for that challenge," Stocks added.
"It will be a tough schedule and a tough conference. Its one of the
most competitive schedules at the Division II level and we'll be
facing that slate with a team that's all freshmen, but one."
With the start of the season, the lacrosse programs will be the
first at Lake Erie College to compete in a conference at the
Division II level. The lacrosse programs were accepted into the
East Coast Conference (ECC) for their debut seasons, while the
other sports at the college will join the Great Lakes
Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) starting in the 2010-11
academic year. But opening the program in a conference could be
challenging for an upstart program.
"There are some great teams in the ECC, but we want to be
competitive there," Maness said. "We know that's where we want to
In an 11-team conference on the men's side of the ECC, five teams
were ranked in the top-10 at the end of last season.
Despite the challenges and work that go into building a program
step-by-step, Maness and Stocks said their players are anxious to
get into their first collegiate season, ready to build on what has
been growing over the last many months.
"The players are raring to get going and excited to see the results
of all their practices and workouts," said Stocks. "They're eager
to see what they look like against Division II competition."
While the final goal will be to pick up wins, the teams will also
be working to pick up steam as the first lacrosse recruiting
classes try to build for a four-year future at Lake Erie.
"Wins would be nice, but to see them working together and learning
this system will be good," said Stocks. "We'll see these guys learn
to play a team game, which is huge at the college level."
"They understand it will be a big part of Lake Erie history and
they want to make the college proud," Maness said. "We want the
team, fans and college to buy into what we're doing, knowing that
it's the groundwork for future success."
And now that the groundwork has been laid, it's time to start the