Southern Virginia University will begin offering NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s lacrosse teams beginning in July of 2013. The Knights inaugural season will be in the Spring of 2014 and they will compete in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) against teams such as Salisbury, Stevenson and Mary Washington.
“The transition to NCAA Division III from club lacrosse is a natural one,” said Deidra Dryden, SVU Senior Women’s Administrator. “We just joined the Capital Athletic Conference, which will provide a competitive schedule for our women’s team. We also feel this decision is in complete alignment with the spirit of NCAA in terms providing equal opportunities for male and female student athletes.”
While the Women’s team is still in the process of securing a head coach, the Men’s team will be lead by Stephen Macurdy.
“I was a freshman in Northern Virginia at Garfield High School when I first learned about lacrosse,” said Macurdy. “Although I didn’t know anything about lacrosse as a freshmen, I was very involved in athletics playing several different sports. On a free weekend, I had the opportunity to take in one of our school’s home lacrosse games and I immediately fell in love with the sport and played the next three years of high school. I was constantly reading and looking for people to teach me—I couldn’t learn enough about the sport. From the moment I saw my first game on, every other sport became second to lacrosse.”
Macurdy began coaching right out of high school. While working to save up money for a two-year mission for the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Macurdy was asked to assist with the girls’ lacrosse team at his alma mater, Potomac High School. He played my junior and senior years at Potomac after playing his sophomore season at Garfield. Michelle Heindrichs was Potomac’s head girls’ lacrosse coach at the time and she taught Macurdy how to see the game as a coach as opposed to a player.
“After I returned home from my mission in Fresno, Calif., I learned that Southern Virginia University was starting a lacrosse program,” said Macurdy. “My parents had moved 30 minutes from Buena Vista, Va., towards the tail end of my mission. I visited the campus and deposited that same day. I felt like I was supposed to be here.”
“We are always looking for talented lacrosse players,” said Macurdy. “Having talented scholar-athletes makes my job a whole lot easier. I am really focusing on Latter-day Saints who want a Division III athletic experience in a wholesome spiritual environment. We’re also focusing on creating a core of returned missionaries that incoming freshman can look to for guidance and leadership. We welcome those not of our faith, who share our values. Many times these young men add consistency to our program, since they usually end up playing all four years without an interruption for mission service.”
SVU formerly competed in Division II of the MCLA, the same division as Westminster and UVU.
“The MCLA is a quality organization that is both organized and competitive,” said Macurdy. “It has been very good to us. However, transitioning from the MCLA to the NCAA will mean that a significant increase in the level of competition next season. D-III lacrosse is extremely competitive, especially in the CAC with teams like Salisbury, Stevenson and Mary Washington, who are consistently ranked in the national polls. The NCAA also carries much more national recognition among high school athletes.”
Coach Macurdy also said, “I think it’s important for potential recruits to understand Southern Virginia University first and then our lacrosse program. Southern Virginia is a small liberal arts college with an honor code based on the values of The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints. I am a huge believer in this university and its honor code. With an average class size of 16, our students get to know their professors, who in turn help our students to grow and excel in ways not possible at larger institutions. The largest LDS Institute program east of the Mississippi services our campus making it a great choice for both young men and women preparing for mission service, as well as returned missionaries who want to continue to attend college in a spiritual environment. As for our lacrosse program, Southern Virginia offers the highest level of lacrosse a young man can play, while attending school in a Latter-day Saint environment. Our program focuses on developing young men both on the lacrosse field, as well as in the classroom and community. We prepare our scholar-athletes to be well-rounded leader-servants, as well as the best lacrosse players possible, by the time they graduate from Southern Virginia University. We will continue to grow and improve over in the coming year as we transition to full NCAA Division III membership.”
Luke Christiansen, an assistant coach at SVU and Cottonwood Lacrosse Alumni, will be at Storm Lacrosse on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 for a formal meet and great. All players who are interested in more information should attend the event to become more familiar with the SVU lacrosse programs.