One of the many ways UNL students choose to get involved on campus is through joining a club sports team. Some of the most popular club sports available at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are basketball, soccer, volleyball and hockey. One that is not often considered by many students is lacrosse, a game played by more than 650,000 Americans.
This year, Nebraska’s men’s lacrosse team has 28 players on the roster and will play a total of 14 games over the span of the season. They participate in the Upper Midwest Lacrosse Conference which they joined in 1998, and includes teams like Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.
The conference was founded in 1992 and operates through the non-NCAA affiliated Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association. The MCLA was founded in 2006 and has over 200 teams throughout the United States and Canada. Most rules carry over from the NCAA rulebook and apply to MCLA play.
The first game is an away matchup against the Creighton Bluejays on Nov. 3. During the fall semester, the team practices three times a week for two hours each, and in the spring the team also practices three times a week, but it can be difficult to find practice space due to the increased number of sports played.
“Practicing three times a week will help us get into a rhythm and find chemistry as a team and it should make us better,” said freshman lacrosse player Jake Wilson.
Club president Jimmy Moran has a number of important duties to fulfill, including making sure everything is running smoothly, checking that everyone is where they need to be and ensuring that uniforms and equipment are up to standards. On a larger level, the president is expected to to ensure a competitive performance from the team. He has to communicate with the university to find practice time and space, while also communicating with other teams to schedule games and get the roster approved by the conference.
“Being the club president is a pretty big commitment,” Moran said. “When I was just a player I would say I spent about 10 hours per week on lacrosse activities, but now I’d say I spend another 10 hours on lacrosse. It can be hard to balance sometimes, but it has just made me better at time management and getting things done efficiently.”
Second-year head coach Tony Holloran was also the club president for two years before taking over the head coaching position.
“There are a number of ways to stay involved with lacrosse and the one I chose was to play at UNL, but you can always find a way to stay involved in a sport if you love it enough,” Moran said.
However, it can be expensive to stay involved as it costs freshman or first-year players $1,000 a year to play, then in the second year and beyond it costs $750 a year. This cost helps to pay for equipment like uniforms, helmets, pads and sticks, as well as travel, food and lodging for away games.
“For me it’s worth it. I’ve played lacrosse for 15 years and have always loved it. It had the fluidity of soccer and the physicality of football, so it was a perfect mix,” Moran said.
Despite being one of the more expensive club sports to participate in, it can actually cost less if players decide to rent their equipment. Others might gawk at the commitment that some club sports demand, especially if it is a sport they’ve never played and aren’t sure if they’ll enjoy or excel at.
“We just want to make joining as easy as possible, so we have a few open practices at the beginning of the year for people to see if lacrosse really fits for them,” Moran said.
Ultimately as a non-scholarship sport that requires the time commitment of many varsity sports, it comes down to one’s passion for the sport.
“The coolest part has to be how important team chemistry is to your success as a team, you really have to get to know your teammates and work together if you want to be successful,” Wilson said.
Nebraska’s first game of the season is an away match against Creighton on Nov. 3.