Lacrosse team spearheads into their first ever season with high aspirations, clear goals set in mind
Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Lindsay Newman became the first-ever coach for Lewis & Clark’s lacrosse program on June 14. Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Julia Quist and Bethany Shade have since joined.
In October, the college announced it would be adding two new varsity sports, women’s lacrosse and men’s soccer. LC has never had a varsity lacrosse team, though there have been several club iterations of women’s lacrosse in the past. Lacrosse is the fastest-growing college sport in the United States with more women’s teams in the National College Athletics Association increasing from 238 in 2001 to 483 in 2018.
Newman partially credits this rise in popularity, which played a role in bringing the sport to LC, with lacrosse being easy to adapt to from other sports.
“As a lacrosse culture, (we) encourage multiple sport athletes, whereas I think with a lot of other sports, you don’t really get that anymore,” Newman said. “I think that has also kind of drawn towards that increase in popularity.”
Newman hopes the popularity in lacrosse can bring new students to LC and add to the campus, something Director of Physical Education & Athletics Mark Pietrok is looking forward to.
“We are really excited to add women’s lacrosse here at Lewis & Clark College,” Pietrok said in a video in April. “We feel it’s a program we can succeed at and matriculate students to our institution. I’m looking to have a program that the school can be proud of (and) the kids can have a great experience and have some success.”
This coming season the coaches will be focusing on recruitment within and outside the college so they are ready to compete for the 2023-24 season.
Additionally, Newman comes to campus with experience kickstarting several girl’s lacrosse teams in her home state of Kentucky. She also served as the lead assistant at Whitman College for their program’s first two seasons and as an assistant coach at Asbury University for its first season.
Newman most recently coached at Linfield College where she oversaw their lacrosse team with a 32-14 overall record (.696 winning percentage) and a 27-9 mark in conference play. While at Linfield, Newman had 16 all-conference honorees and nine players earned Northwest Conference scholar-athlete recognitions.
“I didn’t leave Linfield because I was unhappy there,” Newman said. “I love the school. I love the program. We had such a great team and culture, but I was so looking forward to Lewis & Clark also because it’s so unique to start a program from the absolute scratch.”
Shade also comes from Linfield, where she was a player under the guidance of Newman. She first started lacrosse in eighth grade, then moved to compete in high school on club and select teams. For Shade, college athletics was where she found her confidence and according to Newman, “she dominated.”
“I really blossomed as a player throughout my four years at Linfield,” Shade said. “I got a couple of accolades and ended the season, ended my career very happy.”
Shade began coaching this past year in younger divisions, switching roles.
“One of the biggest changes I saw going from player to coach … I’m not there to physically do the things anymore, because I’m no longer a player,” said Shade. “Now I’m a coach, how do I basically communicate my vision that’s in my head to the athletes?”
Newman also looks forward to incorporating the history of lacrosse and its roots as an indigenous sport into her coaching.
“Where Beth used to play and where I was coaching, what we did almost every year was either go to a Native American reservation, or we’ve had Native Americans come to campus and they’ve done a drum circle before our games,” Newman said. “We’ve always kind of instilled some part of the history of lacrosse, so I think that that will also be a big deal that I hope to bring to campus regularly.”
All three coaches are excited for what the start of the program and coming seasons will look like, including the community that forms.
“For me, as a college athlete, lacrosse was like my home, they were my people,” Shade said. “Being able to provide that to a whole other group of students on campus is really, really great.”