Lacrosse Heaven

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    lacrosse NCAA 2010
    By Lindsay Gotham and Carlee Buck
    Fresno State Lacrosse Assistant Coaches

    A couple of  weekends ago, as many families and friends were packing up for a nice long weekend of Memorial Day camping and fun, we boarded a plane to travel east to immerse ourselves in everything lacrosse!  Memorial Day Weekend is one of the most exciting weekends in the lacrosse community, for a variety of reasons.

    After three, rather painful flight changes, we arrived in Baltimore, Maryland.  We were about to be surrounded by a culture that we have not been around in quite some time.  It was hard to pick someone out of the crowded streets that wasn't fiddling with their lacrosse stick as they walked, or beaming some sort of lacrosse gear for their favorite team, whether they be a part of the Final Four or not.

    There were little kids with face paint just hoping to catch a glance of a college player... and maybe even get lucky enough to have them sign their jersey or a ball.  This sort of culture, mind you, has not been grown over night.  This kind of magical community has taken years, and even decades to cultivate such a zealous fan base, a seed that has just recently been planted here in the central valley.

    Not only is Memorial Day Weekend the NCAA Final Four for both men's and women's lacrosse, but US Lacrosse also hosts the Women's Division National Tournament (WDNT), presented by DeBeer.  This is the first of many great recruiting opportunities that take place over the summer.  With our main priority being recruiting, everything is set up that weekend for all to enjoy the many festivities.

    The WDNT is arranged in such a way that players and coaches alike are able to mix business with pleasure.  Around tournament play and recruiting, coaches and players are able to enjoy some of the best collegiate lacrosse in the country at the NCAA Men's and Women's Semifinals and Championship games.

    The men's semifinals and finals for Division I and the finals for Division II and III were held at M&T Bank Stadium in downtown Baltimore and the Women's Division I semi-finals and finals were played just up the road at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.  So, over a period of 5 days there is enough lacrosse to watch to make a true Laxer's heart very happy!

    The WDNT incorporates three divisions in total.  Fifty-five teams are included in the school girls division (grades 9-11) that hail from all over the country.  California was represented on three teams, Northern California, Southern California (OC/LA), and San Diego.  The senior division is made up of graduating high school seniors as a sort of final farewell before heading off to college.  The third division consists of players 18+ either with aspirations of being selected to the U.S. Women's Developmental Team; part one of a two round tryout for the team, or just to continue playing the game they love.

    All in all, our 3 flight changes across the country to Baltimore, (and the much dreaded 3 flight changes back to Fresno) were all worth the weekend of lacrosse that we got to be a part of.

    Lindsay Gotham and Carlee Buck are assistant coaches for the Fresno State Lacrosse team.

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