BRIDGEWATER, Va. – The wait is finally over.
On Tuesday, the Bridgewater College men’s lacrosse team took the field for the first time as the Eagles started practice in the non-traditional fall season.
Men’s lacrosse was added as a varsity sport in April, 2011 and on June 20 of that year Mic Grant was introduced as the program’s first head coach.
But Tuesday, was the day the players and coaches had been anxiously awaiting since this school year started. Players donned the pads and helmets and took the first steps toward becoming the team that will take the field this spring for the program’s first game. Even a 2-mile run that was the first item on the practice schedule did little to dampen the enthusiasm.
“It feels great to get started,” freshman AJ Chivington said. “I’ve been waiting to play lacrosse for Bridgewater and it’s a blast being out here. We’re going to work hard and hopefully have a good first season.”
For this group of Eagles, the fall season is more than just a time to work on conditioning and fundamentals. With 40 guys coming together for the first time, the next four weeks is an opportunity to integrate as a team.
“I know I was anxious to get started,” said freshman Curtis Hughes. “It’s great to just be on the field throwing the ball around. We’re starting to get used to each other and we’ll come together as a team over the next few weeks. I think we are already started to build some team chemistry. It’s exciting to be a part of starting a new program.”
Kameron Reppe, a junior at BC, has a unique perspective on the first week of practice. Reppe was a part of the club lacrosse program and is excited to be a part of the varsity program.
“I’ve been playing since fifth grade so the club team was a way to keep playing” Reppe said. . We had a bunch of guys who liked to get together and have fun. Club lacrosse was fun, but this is an entirely different level.
“I think having a varsity team is good for the college,” Reppe continued. “Lacrosse is a great sport. Once people come out and watch, I think they’re going to love it.”
No one was more anxious to start fall practice than Grant. It’s been more than a year since he has had a team to coach. The last time Grant was on the field was May 14, 2011 when his Marywood University Pacers lost to Hartwick, 8-6, in the ECAC semifinals.
“It has seemed like an eternity,” Grant said prior to Thursday’s practice. “It’s good to be back out on the field, to get out there and throw the rock around a little. We as coaches are excited and I think the guys are excited. They are working hard and getting adjusted to everything – terminology, speed of the game, fundamentals, commitment. It’s all new.”
The Eagles will play the first game in program history on Feb. 23, 2013 when they host Transylvania University from Lexington, Ky. Like Bridgewater, the Pioneers are also a first-year program.
THIS WEEKEND: There are a couple of special events on tap this Sunday on campus.
Sunday afternoon the Eagles softball team will be hosting a Division I team from the ACC for its fall play day. For the past several years, the Eagles have traveled to Charlottesville to play the University of Virginia in the fall. Sunday, the Cavaliers will make the trek over the mountain to play BC in a tripleheader.
Local fans will get the opportunity to see one of the top pitchers in the ACC when Melanie Mitchell steps into the circle for the Cavs. Mitchell was a second-team All-ACC pick and her 273 strikeouts ranked third in the conference and 20th in the nation.
Also on Sunday afternoon the Eagles volleyball team will be hosting its Dig Pink game when BC hosts Averett University starting at 1:00 p.m. Come out and support the Eagles and support the fight against cancer. Click HERE to learn more about the Dig Pink and the Side-Out Foundation.