California community colleges are taking up lacrosse and it's about to increase opportunity for women at a number of schools. An indicator of growth to come is the Western Women's Lacrosse League. The WWLL started in 1992 before there was much high school lacrosse in the Western United States. Eight California four-year schools joined the inaugural year with rosters made up of east coast transplants and beginners turning out to play something new. The league took off and is a league for two-year schools and four-year schools alike. The programs have a mix of governance by athletic departments, recreation departments and student life offices that all compete in the WWLL. A sign of continued growth of the game are all the community college programs.
The community college lacrosse scene is growing by demand. This was expected with 263 California high schools sponsoring the sport in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) and 2,878 schools sponsoring lacrosse nationwide. (Source, MaxPreps).Lacrosse has also moved into the fastest growing sport at youth and high school levels as reported by the Athelo Group.
“Lacrosse seems to be a sport of the future. Maybe it’s even become the sport of the now. It is more than a sport; it goes beyond and builds a family and community around the sport." - Athelo Group.
With all those California high school programs naturally a good number of lacrosse players factor into the mix of students graduating and staying near home for college for two years. Now is the time for expansion of the sport of the future at community colleges. Projections are that over the next five years it will become a sport at the community college level throughout most of Southern California. As in other educational institution areas some colleges will be pioneers and forge ahead while others will play the wait and see game. The schools with Title IX concerns and a club on their campus demonstrating interest in competing in women's lacrosse are the schools most likely to be the pioneers.
CCCAA and WWLL member institution Fullerton College is a two-year community college that has been sponsoring their women's lacrosse team since 2018-19. The Hornets compete as a member of the Athletic Department at Fullerton CC and the team has a varsity athlete only P.E. class with a curriculum at the college as well. This is a practice common at community colleges in all their sports. Even earlier than Fullerton CC being a pioneer for their model Santa Barbara City College had the first community college team in California with the club they fielded in 2007-08. The Vaqueros have had a club compete in thirteen academic years since inception and are back in force for 2022-23 with 33 players signed up. (Source, SBCC lacrosse website).
Getting in on the action are Glendale, Golden West, Grossmont, Moorpark, Saddleback and Santa Monica all fielding some level of club or team this year or next year. Joining Fullerton CC as Athletic Department or P.E. Department teams for 2023-24 are Glendale, Golden West and Grossmont. Saddleback is planning for 2024-25. Currently operating as student life teams are Moorpark, Santa Monica and SBCC but the Moorpark club advisor is athletic director Matt Crater. The clubs at Moopark have a spot on the Moorpark Athletic Department website so there's some apparent inclusion there for the Raiders.
Click here for known community college women's lacrosse clubs & teams. Additional club and team information may be sent to email@example.com.
Dominican College joining the Western Women's Lacrosse League and several programs returning after time away were the big news coming out of the annual Fall Meeting for all WWLL teams over the weekend. The Penguins will play in North Division 1 of the WWLL along with the clubs from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Santa Clara and St. Mary's. UC San Diego is moved up from D2 to D1 so it boosts the number of D1 programs in the WWLL to 14 teams in three conferences set up by regions. New Dominican head coach Joseph Manna expressed gratitude for the support from peers when he heard the results of the voting.
Growth and potential were evident during the meeting at both the four year school and two year school levels, in the multiple level WWLL. Cal State Northridge and SBCC return to WWLL Central D2 after some time away from league membership the last few years. UC Davis B makes the news too by coming back to the fold and the Aggies will play in North D2 in addition to their A Team counterparts being in North D1. UC Davis head coach Ken Lubert said the time was right for his program to expand as they started with 57 players last year and had to cut down to a roster of 32. Lubert doesn't want to have to limit opportunity that way again this year. Amazingly this will give UC Davis three teams on campus again. Their NCAA Division I team is the other one.
Two year college news includes SBCC joining Fullerton CC as one of two community colleges in the WWLL. Fullerton supports their program at the varsity level in their Athletic Department while SBCC will be competing as a club. SBCC women's lacrosse president Taylor Ortiz relishes the idea of getting to play this year after laying the groundwork for participation during the 2021-22 school year. Community colleges compete in D2 of the WWLL and Glendale, Golden West, Grossmont, Moorpark and Santa Monica are also looking at either club or varsity level supported teams for 2023-24.
There are twenty-one WWLL D2 teams competing this spring and they are distributed evenly with seven teams in each of North D2, Central D2 and South D2. The winner of each of these conferences that are set up in regions receives an automatic qualifier spot for the WWLL Championship Tournament April 15 - 16, 2023. Similarly, the winner of each of North D1, Central D1 and South D1 receive an AQ for their playoff tournament division. The WWLL are members of the Women's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (WCLA). WWLL champions in each of D1 and D2 receive an AQ to the WCLA National Championship Tournament.
WWLL divisions and teams are now public here on the WWLL website. Click over to Teams on the menu or use the Standings page for a nice birds eye view.
In other business during the meeting officer elections were held to fill some open spots. All officers that make up the executive board can be found on the Contacts page of the WWLL website. By-laws were tightened up as well and the final version of those will be available later this week.