Without scholarships, UH lacrosse team still succeeding
These days, the phrase “for the love of the game” doesn’t apply to all aspects of sports. Luckily for the University, it has one of the few remaining bastions that are worthy of this description.
The 21 players and four coaches of UH men’s lacrosse team play without scholarships or financial backing of the athletics department. The team can only practice twice a week from 8-10 p.m., because that’s the only time the crew can meet up at the same time.
While not an NCAA sport here at UH, they compete against other squads from the Lone Star Alliance Conference of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association, which includes Big 12 schools like the University of Texas and Texas Tech University.
“The city of Houston is a hotbed for excellent lacrosse teams,” said freshman attacker Steven Hartshorn, “and a lot of them don’t want to have to go or have to leave Texas.”
Hartshorn is one of seven Cougars who were first or second team Lone Star all conference selections.
While not having the same prestige, at least not yet said senior midfielder McCay Dickinson, lacrosse is played at a number of large high schools in the Houston area. UH’s move to a new conference gives the team hope that perhaps they won’t always labor in the shadow of the more established sports.
“There’s some hope that — a light at the end of the tunnel — that if this thing keeps rolling, things might be different ten years down the line,” Dickinson said.
The team said they hope UH joining the American Athletics Conference, which has connections to the Northeast — long a haven for lacrosse at all levels — the team will have a chance to move beyond intramural status. With the efforts to form a women’s lacrosse team as well, the players said that their future is on a good path.
“Once we can get women’s lacrosse going, the NCAA isn’t too far out,” Hartshorn said.
The 21 players have different lives, majors and classifications — some are freshmen and others have advanced as far as graduate school — but they still came together to have a 8-5 season. They lost in the Division II Conference Finals against Sam Houston State University.
“It’s a fun group,” Dickson said. “It’s not a fraternity, it’s not a scholarship sport, we’re not as cutthroat, but we take it seriously. We’re getting better every day and we have a lot of fun,” said Dickson.