Lacrosse is prominently popular on the east coast, but the sport does not get much attention here in the south. More often than not, people here at Auburn are not familiar with what lacrosse really is and have never had the privilege of seeing a game. Luckily for Auburn students who are avid fans and players, there is a women’s club lacrosse team on campus.
Maria Cusimano, a junior at Auburn, grew up in Centreville, MD. Lacrosse in Maryland is the equivalent of football in Alabama. The majority of Maryland’s population understands the game and has some tie to it. Cusimano has been playing lacrosse since elementary school. She is the oldest of three children and her younger brothers also share her love for the game. Lacrosse sparked Cusimano’s interest in the fifth grade because she “knew she would never have a chance at making the basketball team” due to her short stature. Her physical education teacher urged her to give lacrosse a shot because height is not an essential characteristic for players. Cusimano eagerly attended tryouts and made the A team with a few of her friends. That was the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship between a girl and a game.
Upon coming to Auburn, Cusimano knew she wanted to be active and involved on campus. So, aside from joining a Panhellenic sorority, she decided to tryout for the women’s club lacrosse team. She breezed through the tryout requirements and made the team in the first round. Maria had concerns about being on a new team without “the girls I had been playing with for the past few years,” but she quickly formed a strong bond with the other players. She has enjoyed the team since day one. “It is definitely a big time commitment, but the experience makes tiring practices and team meetings so worthwhile,” its not all work and no play. These team meetings are actually team dinners and the whole team, roughly 30 girls all get together to at Mellow Mushroom to fuel up for an upcoming game and discuss game plays and strategies. “It’s a good thing lacrosse is such a good work out, because [the team really goes] to town on our meals at the meetings,” Cusimano recalls. Running up and down the field for an hour will quickly burn off all those carbs.
Since her sophomore year, Cusimano has had the pleasure of holding the position of team captain. With this title comes the responsibility of coordinating team events outside of practices and games, as well as keeping everyone positive and motivated for tournaments and future competition. The best part about being captain is that she has been pressured to “really get to know each of [her] teammates,” forcing her to step out of her comfort zone and blessing her with the chance to form a strong bond with the entire team.
Cusimano says traveling to away games and destination tournaments is her favorite part of being involved in a club sport. It is not something she would “get to experience if [she] wasn’t a player on the team,” so this is just another great aspect of being a dedicated teammate.
The team currently practices two times a week throughout the duration of the fall semester. Spring marks the official lacrosse season, so the team will meet four times a week to prepare for games and tournaments. Cusimano shares that the team is “really hoping to improve our statistics this coming season,” last year was a little rough with a record of 2-7. The “victory over Alabama was the highlight of last season,” any time that Bama loses is a bonus for the Auburn Tigers.
To further explore the world of collegiate club lacrosse, please visit Lady Tigers Lacrosse
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