Women’s Lacrosse Team Aims to Shift Culture at Kent State
Kent State’s very first Women’s Lacrosse team is making an impact on the culture at Kent State during its first year on campus. Since the team is new to Kent State, players get to shape opinions and perceptions of the team and the players.
Head Coach Brianne Tierney accepted the unique experience of building a brand-new team. She was hired by Kent State in the spring of 2017 with the task of recruiting players from around the nation.
It took her close to two years to recruit a team that now consists of 24 freshman and two sophomores.
“Everyone is either new to the program or new to Kent State,” Coach Tierney said. “This is a group of girls that wants to be good, and we are always striving towards that. We are learning something new every day.”
Coach Tierney explains that throughout the time the team has spent together, she has seen the team bond during practices, games and long weekend trips together.
“Team bonding helps the team grow together and learn more about each other,” Coach Tierney said. “Through these experiences, they have learned how to build mature relationships, but also learn to be friends.”
She explains that the team works very well together.
“Since we are so new, we are focusing on learning and continuing the process together,” Coach Tierney said. “The girls are learning that Division I lacrosse is tough. The sport has given players the opportunity to be supportive of each other.”
While Coach Tierney is very focused on improving the team’s athletic abilities, she is also very concerned about their academics. Last fall, the team finished with eight players who received a 4.0. The women’s lacrosse team acquired an average GPA of 3.505, helping bring up the GPA of the whole athletic department.
“We put a huge focus on academics because that is what the girls are here for,” Coach Tierney said.
Coach Tierney wants the team to be part of a much wider community. She is extremely focused on having the women’s lacrosse program create a positive image in the Kent State community.
The fall before their first official season, the team focused on community service and giving back to Kent and Kent State with the goal of being a part of the wider Kent community. The team participated in events like setting up for the Kent State Block Party and a Christmas gift drive for those less fortunate.
Kent State freshman business major and midfielder Eva Nikolai believes that the players’ participation in community service has shown them the importance of teamwork but also allows the team to reflect on how fortunate they all are.
“I think community service is an important part for every team to do, as it is a great opportunity for us to give back to the community that has given us so much to be grateful for,” Ms. Nikolai said.
She said the women’s lacrosse team has positively impacted her experience at Kent State.
“I love being a part of this team and all of the opportunities it has brought me,” Ms. Nikolai said. “Not many people get to help shape a team from the ground up. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to help build the culture and traditions for our program brick by brick.”
Kent State Women’s Lacrosse stands out from other teams around the nation. The team is very young and determined to succeed.
“A team of 24 freshmen and two sophomores brings an undeniably different kind of energy and youth that other teams and students at other universities haven’t seen in a while,” Ms. Nikolai said. “We are a positive and hard-working group of girls, and I think our energy will shift the culture at Kent State for the better.”
The Kent State team invited regional high school women’s lacrosse teams to their home opener this spring. Camryn Meek, a freshman lacrosse player at Jackson High School, attended that game with some of her high school lacrosse team. “It was so cool to get to see the first-ever Kent State Women’s Lacrosse game, and it was incredible to see the sport that I love expand at the collegiate level,” Ms. Meek said.
“I’m so excited to have more in-state options for college lacrosse,” Ms. Meek said. “This definitely makes Kent State more desirable.”
Ms. Meek believes the campus and community involvement of the Kent State Women’s Lacrosse team is very appealing to a future student.
“The more involved a team is with the community, the more well-known it becomes,” Ms. Meek said. “A well-established team is definitely appealing to an aspiring collegiate athlete.”
This new team is having a positive effect on the community and aspiring younger players, but perhaps the greatest influence has been on the players themselves.
“The lessons I’ve learned from the short time I’ve been a part of Kent State athletics are numerous, especially the importance of hard work and a positive attitude,” Ms. Nikolai said. “It also has led me to so many amazing friendships. This team has left such a positive impact on me and my experience at Kent State and I am so grateful for it.”
To view the 2019 Women’s Lacrosse schedule, visit https://kentstatesports.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=189
To view the 2019 Women’s Lacrosse roster, visit https://kentstatesports.com/roster.aspx?roster=410&path=wlax