Apr 4, 2006

Mac McGinley’s lacrosse ministry

by Amy Field
While Liberty’s women’s lacrosse team may not be something everyone on campus has heard about, the team has recently been gaining ground in popularity and recognition with recruits.

The women’s lacrosse team is a club sport that started three years ago. Mary Catherine McGinley, called “Mac” by her friends, was there when it began and is now the captain of the team.

“I started playing lacrosse when I was 10 years old,” McGinley said. “It’s really big where I’m from in New Jersey. They kind of try to breed lacrosse players there.”

When she was younger, she played basketball and volleyball as well as lacrosse until her last year in high school.

“I quit lacrosse my senior year, because our team was number one in the nation, and I wasn’t going to get the playing time that I wanted,” McGinley said. “I actually quit lacrosse because I was hoping to play volleyball here at Liberty.”

Later on she decided she did not want to play volleyball.

“When I got (to Liberty) I realized that I really missed being on a team, but I wasn’t ready to dedicate my whole life to a sport.”

When McGinley heard that many people on campus had not even heard of lacrosse, she decided to look into starting what she sees as a lacrosse ministry at Liberty.

“(The team) started my freshman year,” McGinley said. “I took over the team halfway through that semester. Then my sophomore year was when I took the initiative and took on the coaching and captain positions.”

The players on the first team were mostly girls who had never played before and wanted to learn. That fall, with only three girls on the team who had played previously, McGinley was able to get women’s lacrosse approved to be a club sport.

According to McGinley, the team competes in the Carolina Women’s Lacrosse League. Although there is a league in Virginia, Liberty plays mostly Carolina teams, including the club teams at Duke University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and UNC-Wilmington, East Carolina University, Elon University and Wake Forest University. The CWLL is more on Liberty’s level as a younger, newer team.

“A lot of our girls have never played (lacrosse) before this,” McGinley said. However, after two seasons of having to teach the basics of lacrosse over and over again to completely inexperienced girls, McGinley has a newly implemented rule. It requires new potential players to have some prior experience in the sport before trying out. This has allowed the team to improve, since it can start off training where it left off last season instead of going back to the basics every season for new players. It has also improved the quality of new players.

“I’m starting to get emails from girls before they start coming (to Liberty) who have played lacrosse and are interested in playing for us,” McGinley said.

As a junior majoring in elementary education, McGinley hopes to go into a career in both teaching and coaching. For now, her ministry with the women’s lacrosse team continues in the form of a weekly Bible study, prayer before and after every practice, as well as witnessing to opposing teams after games.

“We want to emphasize that we’re not playing for just fun — we’re playing to glorify God,” McGinley said.

Contact Amy Field at afield@liberty.edu.

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