Women’s lacrosse added to university’s athletics lineup

New team scheduled to begin competing in spring 2023
UW-Stout’s new women’s lacrosse team will begin play in 2023 at Nelson Field, foreground. / UW-Stout photo
Layne Pitt | September 23, 2021

The fastest growing collegiate sport will be coming to University of Wisconsin-Stout when the Blue Devils introduce women’s lacrosse to the sports module.

UW-Stout will immediately begin a national search for a coach to develop the program with the intent to begin competition in the spring of 2023.

Lacrosse becomes the 19th NCAA varsity sport at UW-Stout and the 11th NCAA varsity sport for women. The team will play its home games at Nelson Field.

Esports, a non-NCAA sport, became a varsity program during the 2020-21 academic year.

A women's lacrosse graphic, next to the Blue Devil logo, represents a new school sport beginning in 2023.

The fast-paced sport of lacrosse is growing collegiately not only nationwide — 26 NCAA schools added lacrosse in 2020 — but among schools in the area. UW-River Falls was the first conference school to play lacrosse, beginning in 2018-19. The Falcons earned an NCAA playoff bid this past spring. UW-La Crosse began a women’s program in 2020 and UW-Eau Claire in 2021.

In addition to the three WIAC schools, seven colleges and universities in Wisconsin offer Division III women’s programs. Nearby, Augsburg University, Hamline University and the University of Northwestern in St. Paul also have programs.

With the start of the 2020-21 season, there were 293 NCAA Division III women’s lacrosse programs.

Duey Naatz, UW-Stout athletic director
Duey Naatz, UW-Stout athletic director / UW-Stout

“UW-Stout is ready to be a part of the fastest growing sport in the NCAA,” said UW-Stout Athletic Director Duey Naatz. “We plan to have a coach in place in the fall who will hit the ground running to assemble all the pieces for a competitive program. It is an exciting time to introduce the sport of lacrosse into the Stout community as well as the surrounding community.”

Lacrosse is an NCAA spring sport. The season begins in late February, running into May, with a 16-game schedule.

The NCAA has conducted women’s lacrosse championships since 1985. Salisbury University completed an undefeated season, topping Tufts University, 15-14, to win the 2021 NCAA Division III championship in May. Gettysburg College won the two previous women’s titles.

UW-Stout’s Nelson Field has an artificial surface completed in 2020, allowing the team to play home games in late winter and spring.

Women’s lacrosse has been a UW-Stout sports club for several years.

“We will continue to review our sports module and work with our administration as we look to the expansion of Blue Devils Athletics,” Naatz said.

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