The Jacksonville Dolphins Women’s Lacrosse squad is on a mission.
They are not only looking to win games, win the A-Sun Championship and move on to the NCAA Championship, they are looking to spread the game of lacrosse around the country.
Lacrosse is a sport that is primarily known to be a northeastern sport. Lacrosse is most popular in the state of Maryland.
Jacksonville, Florida on the other hand is nearly 700 miles away from Maryland and has still managed to recruit several players to come play for them from the northeast part of the country.
More interestingly is the players that come from outside that region of the country. JU has nine players on its roster from Georgia and Florida and because of that they have become huge advocates on growing the game of lacrosse.
Junior Morgan Derner grew up in Lake Mary, Florida where she started playing lacrosse in eighth grade after a friend convinced her to join a new club that was getting started.
“We would go play up north and played against several teams and we didn’t win many games, but as we grew we started beating some of the top Maryland team which was really exciting and a big deal a Florida club,” Derner said.
One of Jacksonville’s seniors, Amanda Hurley, started playing lacrosse in high school in the state of Georgia. She credits most of her ability to make it to the college level to attending as many clinics as possible when she was younger.
“I actually met Coach Mindy at a clinic my freshman year of high school, she wasn’t a college lacrosse coach at the time but she really sparked my interest in lacrosse,” Hurley Said.
“Here I am today as a senior in college, eight years later and we’ve reconnected.”
The Dolphins throw clinics throughout the year with local schools in hopes of spreading an interest in the game to youth that may not have experienced the sport.
Derner said “This is a really important thing for Florida because the sport is not big, but they really look up to us and the more we can help them grow the more we can grow the sport.”
Hurley explains how much it helps that JU has several players that are from the south because other girls will see that in the community and draw a connection to them.
Both Hurley and Derner had the same advice to give to future lacrosse players as they look to get more involved in the sport.
“Keep working hard and focus on your dreams, the hard work will pay off"