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There from the Beginning
For two Liberty Lady Flames lacrosse players, the end of the season marks the end of an era. Chloe McIntosh and Candice Parsons are the only remaining individuals from Liberty's inaugural lacrosse team of 2010. Neither senior came to Liberty to play lacrosse. However, once they arrived, they became part of something very special.
McIntosh, who was tabbed as a captain for the fourth year in a row, grew up playing basketball in her hometown of Dallas, Texas. The senior tried out for Liberty's women's basketball team her sophomore season, but did not make the team. However, McIntosh caught the eye of her future coach, Regan Denham.
"She invited me to join the new lacrosse team, and I accepted, becoming the third member on the inaugural team," commented McIntosh. "I knew the Lord had a special plan for my life, but I just never imagined it would involve playing a sport at the Division I level that I had never heard of before."
The career leader in ground balls and games started, McIntosh is also second all-time in program history with 58 caused turnovers and games played.
Parsons, a Deerfield Beach, Florida native, planned to compete for the cross country team at Liberty before moving on to lacrosse. Parsons came to the decision to forgo playing sports upon her arrival in Lynchburg. However, after a couple of months, the senior missed being a student-athlete and decided to try out for the first-year lacrosse program.
"I wanted to play a sport, and after a couple days of tryouts, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the team and be surrounded by such a great group of girls," stated Parsons. "Everyone was so welcoming."
The career leader in games played, Parsons is second all-time in games started with 59. The senior is also in the top 10 in draw controls, caused turnovers and goals among other areas.
When asked what it has been like building the program, both seniors stated it has been challenging at times, but very rewarding above anything else. "The first year of the program, a lot of us had never played before, so it was hard dealing with having a losing season. But looking back and seeing the obstacles our team has overcome is amazing," said Parsons.
McIntosh stated, "It truly is amazing what God can and will do in your life when you follow him. I have developed friendships with teammates who will be lifelong friends, and I have made memories I would not trade for anything."
The opportunity for the athletes to integrate their faith into their sport is something both have welcomed and cherish. "I think the most rewarding aspect of being a part of the program is the ability to integrate my faith with lacrosse" said McIntosh. "My faith is my top priority, so it is very rewarding to be able to mix it in with my love of lacrosse."
"For me the most rewarding thing has been how I have grown spiritually," Parsons said. "Lacrosse has made me want to work harder on and off the field. The support we receive from administration and coaches is something some people might take for granted, but I would never be where I am now without it."
When asked what differences she sees in her team since the inaugural season, Parsons said, "When the program first started, we were all just so focused on trying to become lacrosse players. But throughout the years we have become a family and year-by-year we just became closer and closer."
McIntosh added, "We spent most of the first year learning the basics and fundamentals of lacrosse. We have made so much progress since then. Our program is much more competitive and we demand respect from other programs within the sport."
The Lady Flames are in the midst of their winningest season in program history, posting an 8-9 overall record. Liberty's eight wins eclipses the previous school record of six victories, set in 2011. The Lady Flames notched a 4-3 record during conference action, securing the No. 4 seed for this weekend's inaugural Big South Lacrosse Championship.
Both seniors are on track to graduate in May. McIntosh will be graduating with her Master of Science degree in Sport Management – Sport Administration. Upon graduation, the captain will be attending physical therapy school at nearby Lynchburg College.
Parsons will be graduating with her Bachelor's degree in sport management. After a summer internship, the senior is planning to start her master's program, also in sport management. Once completing her master's degree Parsons will pursue a career in college athletics.
Written by Danny Smith, an intern in the Liberty University Athletics Communications office.