Profile: Niki Eisgruber and Kristen Kennedy
Lacrosse, a combination of basketball, soccer and field hockey, is one of the nation's fastest growing sports. The game has spread like wildfire throughout the SEC, and thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of junior Niki Eisgruber and sophomore Kristen Kennedy, women's lacrosse has reached Mississippi State.
The broadcast meteorology students of Atlanta, Ga., decided to share their passion for the sport with other MSU students in fall 2012. After months of meetings and paper work, women's lacrosse officially became a club sport at the university in January. Eisgruber and Kennedy serve as the club's president and vice president, respectively.
"I've wanted to start this club ever since I came to MSU. While I'm an active member in my sorority, I wanted to branch out and get to know people outside of Greek life," said Eisgruber. "Now that that club is official, I feel like I have a true purpose at MSU. I have met my goal of creating the team, and ever since, it's grown in so many directions I never could have imagined."
"It's great to have a close-knit group of girls who are more like family than a sports team," added Kennedy.
Eisgruber and Kennedy have worked to overcome several obstacles to establishing and promoting the club, such as a lack of knowledge and preconceived notions about the sport overall.
"It seems like people still view lacrosse as scary or as a "man's sport" only; therefore, trying to get opponents to play us, equipment from local stores, and players for the team is a huge challenge," Eisgruber explained.
Despite these challenges, the club has grown exponentially over the past year, expanding to include members from Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Alabama and Tennessee. Eisgruber and Kennedy have enjoyed both playing the sport they love as well as spreading their passion by teaching new members of the team.
"Last year, we had several girls come out for the team who had never heard of lacrosse, let alone played a contact sport, but they were all so enthusiastic. It was so exciting to see how easily they picked it up and fell in love with the sport," Kennedy said.
The team is student-run and is open year-round. The members plan to focus on practicing and fundraising throughout the fall to gear up for the spring semester, when they plan to play both local and collegiate teams, in addition to holding a lacrosse clinic for the community with the MSU men's team.
"Our goal is to join the Southeastern Women's Lacrosse League," Eisgruber said. "Since lacrosse is one of the most unclaimed scholarships in the U.S., we want to build up interest at MSU so hopefully it can be become a sport girls can get a scholarship for one day."
"It's more than just games and practices. We want to really educate Starkville on women's lacrosse. We want to get our name out there as well as make a difference in the community."
For more information on women's lacrosse at MSU, check out the team's Facebook page or follow them on Twitter (@WomensLaxMSU).Writer: Morgan Tubbs | Photo: Beth Wynn
Next week … Alyson Karges !