Lacrosse: A Game Played with Skills and Sticks

Lacrosse has the stick maneuvers of hockey, open field game like soccer, tight teamwork like basketball and the physical contact of football all wrapped up in one sport.
The UC Irvine Men’s Lacrosse Club, headed by senior Ben Lin, is in its fourth year of establishment, but it is only the club’s third year as a fully sanctioned team in the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League.
Anyone can join the club throughout the year, which is currently in the Division B bracket.
Biola is UCI’s unofficial rival but the division also includes the University of San Diego, St. Mary’s College and Claremont McKenna.
Fifth-year Ian Televik, the team’s captain, started the Lacrosse club four years ago.
Televik told goalie and club Vice President Jason Lobell that he (Televik) ‘found one or two other guys and started shooting at trash cans.’
Lobell said, ‘It went from nothing to starting out to be something very quickly.’
The Lacrosse Club holds its home games and practices at the ARC fields.
During the fall the team participates in tournaments.
UCI hosted its fourth annual Laxtoberfest on Oct. 16 and attended the Best of the West Tournament in Las Vegas on Oct. 23.
In the fall, the team, which is made up of 25 to 30 athletes who are both walk-ons and recruited, practices three times a week for about two and a half hours.
During the season, which starts in February and ends in mid-April, the team practices five days a week for the same amount of time.
How can athletes get recruited to play in a club sport?
According to Lobell, the UCI Lacrosse Club actively ‘goes around convincing people at high school tournaments about the school and team.’
Lacrosse is a huge sport on the East Coast because it recognized as a NCAA Division I sport.
There is no such thing over here on the West Coast.
That’s why the UCI Lacrosse Club is registered under the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association and plays in the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League, Division B.
This year’s roster is made up of a good mix of rookies, sophomores and upperclassmen.
‘Our goal for the season is to make it to playoffs,’ Lobell said.
He also believes the team will be very competitive this year because last year’s freshmen are now fully skilled and this season’s rookies already have some experience under their belts.
In Lacrosse, there are three midfielders, three defenders, three attack men and one goalie during a game.
Everyone also uses different sticks on the field.
Attackers and midfielders have short sticks, which are about three feet long.
The defenders hold long sticks, which are six feet long, in order to ‘bat down passes’ and give the athlete a ‘longer distance between you and a player,’ according to Lobell.
Finally, the goalie holds a stick somewhere between the first two in length. The goalie’s stick has a larger head because it needs a bigger net in order to stop their opponents from scoring.
Every player needs to hold the stick with two hands to be able to play.
The legal area to hit someone is between the waist and shoulders.
‘You can push, check with a shoulder or poke and slap with the stick,’ Lobell said. ‘No kicking.’
All athletes wear some type of padding in the form of gloves, elbow or shoulder pads, and helmets with full cages.
The goalie wears neck and belly protection instead of the arm and shoulder pads.
The game is played with a rubber ball smaller than a tennis ball that a lacrosse athlete does not want to get hit with.
The team also has a professional coach, Mark Todd, who aids the team during the year.
But being in the sport has its price.
Fees run up to $700 for freshmen but decrease as each year goes by. Lobell said that UCI has the ‘cheapest dues in the entire CLL.’
All of the team’s money goes to paying for equipment such as custom gloves, room and board when they are playing away games, and tournament entry fees.
According to Lobell, a unique attribute to the lacrosse team is that it is ‘in the forefront in youth lacrosse.’
Seven players are currently coaching for lacrosse teams in middle schools and high schools in Southern California each week.
‘UCI has a core group of UCI players and coaches trying everything they can to see lacrosse flourish,’ Lobell said.
Lobell believes the team environment is not only great but that players really get the chance to bond with their fellow teammates.
‘It’s better than a fraternity,’ Lobell said. ‘You practice hard, sweat together and get hurt together.’
If you feel the urge to grab a stick and join, you can reach the team at www.ucilax.com.