Atlantic Sun adds women’s lacrosse
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University women’s lacrosse team found a new home today when the Atlantic Sun Conference announced it will add debut the sport as an NCAA Division I championship sport beginning in 2013.

The Dolphins formerly played in the National Lacrosse Conference and three of those teams, Longwood, Detroit Mercy and Howard University have been accepted by the A-Sun as affiliate members for the sport. In addition, A-Sun schools Kennesaw State, Mercer and Stetson will field teams.

"Having the Atlantic Sun Conference add women's lacrosse as a conference sport illustrates how rapidly the game is growing and how important it is to the A-Sun alone," said JU Director of Athletics Alan Verlander. "We were able to start the National Lacrosse Conference with a core group of teams and now the growth of the sport has spurred more schools to add it and in doing so, allowed us to join a league closer to home with schools that we already have a rivalry against. The other big item is that we now have access to the NCAA tournament with an automatic bid to the league champion."

The Dolphins fielded their first NLC team in 2010 and finished 8-11. Last season, JU was 14-5 and was the regular-season champion. They also tied Longwood with a single-game high 24 goals and returns every top-10 scorer from a unit that scored 308 times in 19 games last year, tops in Division I.

“We’re really excited about the Atlantic Sun taking on women’s lacrosse,’’ coach Mindy McCord said. With the Atlantic Sun taking this on and with some new programs starting, we’ll be an automatic qualifier for NCAA post season play.’’

The addition of women’s lacrosse gives the A-Sun 10 women’s sports and 18 sports overall in its program.

“The addition of women’s lacrosse to the A-Sun will provide championship opportunities for the growing list of A-Sun schools that will be competing in the popular sport,’’ commissioner Ted Gumbart said. “We are very excited about adding Detroit, Howard and Longwood as affiliate members. They will be excellent competitors and we look forward to a very successful future in women’s lacrosse.’’