What can arguably be considered one of the fastest growing sports in the nation, lacrosse is taking over Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
The Islanders Lacrosse Club is open to all male college students who may take an interest in wanting to try it out for the first time, learn more about the game or just have fun meeting new friends. The group competes against other lacrosse clubs from universities all across Texas, as well as neighboring states such as Louisiana and Oklahoma.
Lacrosse involves two teams, just like most other sports. There are 10 players on the field for each team at any given time, four on the defensive half of the field, three on the offensive half, and the final three who are allowed to run wherever they please. Similar to high school football, each of the game’s four quarters is 12 minutes long.
The game is similar to most sports in the way that the team must score points, but unlike football, it is a minimal contact sport that allows body and stick checking like hockey.
After a rough season two years ago, and a year where the team did not have enough players to form a team, the Islanders Lacrosse Club is focusing on rebuilding their program this year. The team only won a handful of games during the 2016 campaign.
“We just joined MCLA and LSA, so we’re rebuilding and just trying to get better,” said team vice president Kody Thomas. “We’re trying to get ready for the upcoming season.”
The team is hoping to enjoy success this upcoming season beginning late January, having recently joined the Lone Star Alliance (LSA) division of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA), Thomas said.
MCLA is the governing body for men’s lacrosse across the nation on the sub-varsity level, meaning that it is not affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, better known as the NCAA.
“Playing lacrosse in college is a great experience I guess, I never played in high school, I played baseball,” said team President Billy Guerra. “Playing lacrosse is just, it’s a fun experience playing with a bunch of guys I had never met before.”
The club’s most recent game did not end in favor of the club. The team fell to a University of Louisiana-Lafayette team that showed little mercy in a 20-1 victory over the Islanders.
Since the MCLA is a nationwide association, and the LSA is a statewide division, players have many opportunities to travel and visit other schools, stadiums and facilities that they would not have access to otherwise. This provides plenty of opportunity for students to meet other players that would have never known, Guerra said.
“Our freshman year we played, we literally won one game because we were stupid terrible,” Guerra said. “It was just a great experience just to know how to play and travel to see other schools and meet other players and just the experience.”
Thomas said playing the sport has had little impact on his time to study and do homework.
“Lacrosse hasn’t affected my time in college,” Thomas said. “I still have enough time to study and do my homework, but other than that I’ve made a lot of friends. It’s been fun,” said Thomas.
According to their schedule, the Islanders will open their 2018 campaign on Jan. 28 in hopes of having a successful season.
The team practices twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Practices are held at the recreational fields right next to Momentum Village, or across the street from the Dugan Soccer Stadium.