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Big South Set to Sponsor Lacrosse in 2013
Liberty will have an additional program join the Big South Conference for the 2012-13 academic year, as the league announced earlier today that it would start to sponsor women's lacrosse as a championship sport for the 2013 season.
"I am very excited about the Big South Conference's decision to sponsor women's lacrosse," said Liberty head women's lacrosse coach Regan Denham. "It is great that more and more colleges in the region and around the country are choosing to sponsor lacrosse. We are eagerly anticipating competing against Liberty's traditional conference opponents."
The Big South will have six members with women's lacrosse programs when play begins in 2013 – Campbell, Coastal Carolina, High Point, Liberty, Presbyterian College and Winthrop.
Of those six, three already compete in the sport at the Division I level – High Point, Liberty and Presbyterian College. Women's lacrosse will become the 19th championship athletics program sponsored by the Big South.
Campbell, Coastal Carolina and Winthrop will debut their respective women's lacrosse programs in 2013. In addition, Big South member institutions that add women's lacrosse in the future will be included as well. Women's lacrosse, the first sport added by the Big South since football in 2002, will also count in the conference's Sasser Cup and All-Sports standings.
With six initial members, the Big South is immediately eligible to apply for an automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship, beginning with the 2013 season. The Big South will begin the process of determining scheduling, championship format and award recognitions, among others, leading up to the inaugural 2013 campaign.
"The Big South Conference is pleased to offer championship and postseason opportunities to the women's lacrosse student-athletes at our member institutions," said Kyle B. Kallander, commissioner of the Big South Conference. "Women's lacrosse is growing at an incredible pace, and we are pleased to be contributing to its popularity. We look forward to the inaugural 2013 season and competing on a national level."
Liberty just completed its second season of women's lacrosse. The team posted a 7-11 record, marking a six-win improvement over its inaugural season in 2010.
The Lady Flames have competed during their first two seasons in the National Lacrosse Conference and will continue to do so during the 2012 season. Liberty posted a 2-5 record this past year in the eight-member league, with High Point capturing the conference's title.
All teams in the newly formed Big South sponsored sport are relatively new to the collegiate lacrosse scene. Presbyterian College started its program in 2008, while High Point field its first program this past season.
Coastal Carolina first announced its addition of women's lacrosse on May 7, 2010, as its 18th athletics program. The Chanticleers are planning to hire a head coach at the start of the 2011-12 academic year, followed by an assistant coach during the school year.
On Nov. 24, 2010, Winthrop announced it would field a women's lacrosse program to bring its athletics sponsorship to 18 programs, and two weeks ago hired John Sung as its first head coach. Campbell, which is officially re-joining the Big South on July 1, 2011, announced on May 5 that it would begin sponsoring women's lacrosse in 2013, which would be the school's 21st varsity athletics sport.