Women’s lacrosse team to be added as club sport in fall 2023

The Vikings will add women’s lacrosse to its varsity sports roster in the 2025-2026 academic year. The sport will be offered to students as a club sport beginning in fall 2023, while the varsity sport’s details will be finalized after that.

“We feel it offers us the best chance for success at the varsity level by starting as a club sport and gives lacrosse a chance to grow in our region,” Josh Morton, the director of athletics, said.

The lacrosse schedule hasn’t been decided upon yet, but the team could look forward to competing against teams like Concordia-St. Paul and Upper Iowa University. 

“Within five hours of here, there’s some really great competition that our club program will be able to compete against,” Morton said. 

While lacrosse remains a club sport, students will have to fundraise to cover the cost of travel, uniforms, equipment and other supplies necessary to compete. According to Morton, funding sources will change once the program transitions to the varsity level.

No head coach has been selected for the team. According to Adam Heinitz, the assistant vice president of enrollment management, the plan is for someone to be hired for the position by fall 2024.

The program will be working closely with Sioux Falls Lacrosse Association, Morton said. 

“They’re going to be a great partner for us to help grow the sport in Sioux Falls but also when it comes to coaching and facilities and helping, so that’ll be a big deal for us,” Morton said.

According to Morton, lacrosse recruitment will begin with the admissions team and from interested athletes on campus. Once the sport makes its varsity transition, recruiting will be done by the coaching staff. 

“We would love to have a roster between 25 to 30 at some point,” Morton said. “Understanding that this is a startup program, it may take us a little bit to get there.”

According to Heinitz, the admissions team is looking at different approaches for recruitment in the 2023-2024 school year but have not selected a method due to the club’s unclear future. 

“It’s hard to recruit without knowing what we’ll be able to provide in terms of equipment, if there will be a coach and what that would look like and who they would play against, [or] how many games they would play,” Heinitz said. “At this stage, being able to recruit as a reason for someone to enroll at Augustana, we really aren’t in a position to do that.” 

Accordingto Heinitz, once there are more details in place, the admission office can begin building a more thorough recruitment process. Until then, the club will most likely be composed of existing Augustana students.  

Freshman Alivia Baumgarn has never played lacrosse before, but she said she is interested in and excited about the opportunities this program adds to Augustana. 

“I think it’s a cool sport, and it is intense,” Baumgarn said. “I’ve watched lacrosse before, and it was really fun to watch, so I think it would be even more fun playing.”

According to Morton, students who participate in the club program may be able to transition to the varsity sport as well. 

“I think at the end of the day, we want competitive excellence, so if they’re good enough to help us compete, absolutely,” Morton said.

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