Mid-American Conference adds lacrosse, Kent State as a founding team

Members of the Kent State women’s lacrosse team cheer after scoring a goal against Kennesaw State on April 11, 2019. Kent lost 11-18.

The increasing presence of lacrosse in the Midwest has been embraced by the Mid-American Conference, as the conference will sponsor women’s lacrosse with Kent State as a founding team.

The Kent women’s lacrosse team played its inaugural season last year under coach Brianne Tierney, finishing 2-15.

“I am excited to welcome new teams to Division I and to continue the growth of our sport at a high level in the midwest,” Tierney said in a press release. “We look forward to competing in the same conference as the rest of the Golden Flash athletic programs and sharing the common goal of competing for a MAC championship.”

The Flashes participated in the Atlantic Sun Conference last season and will do the same this year before joining the MAC next season.

Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen thanked the ASUN for the opportunity to participate in the conference, but expressed that the move to a MAC conference was important to the team.

“Our student athletes are excited about the opportunity to wear the MAC logo on our uniforms and play in the same conference as all the other teams at Kent State,” he said in a release.

Starting in the 2020-21 academic year the conference will begin play and hold a tournament at the end of the season.

“I am pleased our membership is adding women’s lacrosse to our offering of championships,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in the announcement. “This is a historic day as women’s lacrosse has been a topic of conversation among our membership.”

The only MAC teams that currently have lacrosse teams are Central Michigan (founded four years ago), Kent and Akron. Akron will play its first season this spring.

The MAC women’s lacrosse conference will also welcome Detroit Mercy and Youngstown State as associate members.

This will cause some reshuffling among Division I women’s lacrosse, with Kent and Akron leaving the ASUN and Detroit Mercy and CMU leaving the Southern Conference.

In the 2021-22 season Eastern Michigan will add lacrosse and join the conference, bringing the total number of teams to six.

The conference will seek further expansion among MAC schools in the future.

“We know the effort and support necessary to begin a team and to have that support on a conference level takes a huge commitment from the MAC leaders, our conference opponents and affiliate members that we commend,” Tierney said.

The Flashes begin their second season on Feb. 2 when they host Cincinnati.

Contact Owen MacMillan at [email protected]