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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Women’s lacrosse begins first season as Division I club

Women’s club lacrosse poses for team photo to start season. Photo courtesy of Lucy Wing ’26.

 As of the spring 2024 season, women’s lacrosse holds the title of the only Division I sport on campus. The club team has competed in the North Central Women’s Lacrosse League (NCWLL) for years but bumped up to the league’s top division, Lakes and Plains, to start the 2023-24 season. Co-captain Rhiannon DeMilt ’24 attributed the choice to bump up to the team’s great numbers and overall skill. 

“Everybody sort of knows what they’re doing now,” DeMilt said. “Everybody’s picking it up really, really well, so we decided to bump up for a little bit more [competition] , but also in terms of adding to the validity of the team. Eventually, we’d like to try and transition into being a varsity team as opposed to just a club sports team.” 

MacLax finished the 2023 season with an undefeated record of 3-0. While the team is off to a rough start with a record of 1-2, winning 1-0 to the University of Minnesota, Mankato and losing 0-18 to a very good St. Thomas and 2-13 to Carleton, the team is optimistic about turning around their season. 

In transitioning from the Division II league, Rivers, the Scots will face many teams they have never seen before. DeMilt says the overall level of competition is extremely variable, but they’re excited to compete against new squads like College of St. Benedict and University of Minnesota-Duluth. 

“Our toughest competition in the league is going to be Carleton,” DeMilt said. “They also have played in Rivers up until this year and bumped up to Lakes and Plains with us. They are a pretty similar team to us, where they do a lot of teaching and letting new players in in the fall and then committing to that more competitive drive and spirit in the spring.”

DeMilt acknowledges that being a club sports team comes with its own set of challenges. DeMilt and her fellow co-captains Lucy Wing ’26 and Olivia Fowler ’25 organize practices, other logistics and currently solely run the team, but they hope to get a coach in the future.

“We don’t get the most ideal practice [times],” DeMilt said. “Slots are often between 10pm and midnight. We have to really fight and advocate for ourselves in terms of getting field space and having time to play and getting all of our equipment and stuff in line. It’s kind of hard to run a team when you don’t have the proper facilities and opportunities to be able to do so.” 

While DeMilt has played the sport since she was seven years old, following in the footsteps of family members like her dad who played D1 lacrosse, some members of the team had never touched a lacrosse stick before coming to Mac. Because of the range of skill levels and prior lacrosse experience, the captains take a comprehensive approach to determining players’ positions.

“We take a more holistic view of what the team needs, but also where different people feel the most comfortable,” DeMilt said. “Some people are just born with a really, really powerful shot, and we put them on attack — which is our offensive — and some people really have no problem getting physical and being on a person. We tend to put those people on defense. Somebody who excels in both and is okay with running for an hour straight is put on midfield.”

Fiona Houlgate ’26 joined the team this year and attributes her experience with soccer and the team dynamic to helping her acclimate to a sport she hadn’t played before.

“Practice never feels competitive in a bad way,” Houlgate said. “It’s a safe space to learn. It’ll be a hurdle facing those teams that might have played for longer. I would say we’re the underdogs going into this season, but we’ll put up a good fight.”

Alex Bordelon ’26, who joined the team this year after playing in high school, agrees that the range of skill levels is a challenge but feels the team’s camaraderie will help to push past that barrier.

“[The team] is very supportive,” Bordelon said. “I think we have a lot of team spirit. Everyone is just really compassionate and understanding, and I think that’s important to be able to build that skill level.We might not all be there skill-wise, but if we have that support system behind us, then we can easily get there.”

Fiona Brown ’26, who typically plays defense, played lacrosse from fifth grade to freshman year of high school and joined the team last year. She echoes that the team is a supportive environment for the avid lacrosse player as well as those new to the sport.

“Everybody should come to our games,” Brown said. “It’ll be really fun. Think about joining. If you haven’t played lacrosse before, don’t let it stop you. You could be a D1 athlete with no experience at all.”


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About the Contributor
Natalie Mazey, Associate Arts Editor
Natalie Mazey ’26 (she/her) is an associate arts editor from Cincinnati, Ohio. She is an English major with minors in Environmental Studies and Media and Cultural Studies. She is an avid enjoyer of the New York Times Games and any form of crafting.

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