Women's Lacrosse, An Additional Catawba Sport to Cheer
May 13, 2011
By Stephanie Cook '12
As we welcome the Class of 2015 to the Catawba College campus, we will also acknowledge and give our attention to the newest intercollegiate team added to the Catawba Indian's athletics program. Women's Lacrosse, under the direction of Ashley Gilroy, will kick off its inaugural season in January 2012.
The first recruiting class will be coming in as freshman in the fall, and joining them on the roster will be many other female student-athletes who already attend Cat-U. Gilroy says she is enthusiastic about the start of this new team, and could not be happier about being in charge of getting it started and kicked into full gear.
The New York native is a graduate of Long Island University-CW Post. While studying Criminal Justice and Business, she played four years of lacrosse for the Pioneers and was tabbed as an All-American twice, along with being named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team three different times.
Gilroy was introduced to Catawba through a current student, Kortney Kavanaugh, who knew Gilroy from her days as a high school coach at Shoreham-Wading River, a local Long Island school. Kavanaugh's mother got in touch with Gilroy and told her the program was being considered to take the place of Women's Field Hockey, a squad Catawba cut in fall 2010. Gilroy immediately called the Indians' Athletics Director Dennis Davidson when she received the news, and the progression has stemmed from there.
Gilroy explains that she really wants to establish a family-like atmosphere for Catawba's newest intercollegiate sport. "I want to instill my beliefs in coaching and what I believe it means to be a good person and a well-rounded athlete. I want (the girls) to be good people and help in the community and also instill the fact that the team is more important than the individual."
She added that she has learned more about life in general being a part of different athletic teams than she has in the classroom, and wants to provide her girls with a similar experience. "Working together is huge and you learn that by working on a team." Gilroy plans to build the program throughout each season, developing a good reputation among other college teams and eventually become a standout squad in Division II.
Although Catawba's Women's Lacrosse is not part of a conference yet, it has the luxury of being in a prime North Carolina location where there are several other colleges that field teams. A few include Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, and Belmont Abbey College in Belmont. As the program grows, Gilroy would like to play some stronger teams, including her alma mater, but notes that Catawba's program must establish itself as a high quality one before other programs will agree to play against it.
In just a short time, Gilroy says she has grown fond of the college, faculty and staff, describing how many people have offered to help her through her transition. "Everyone has been super nice. The (other) coaches have been very welcoming and have offered a hand to help me by giving me advice and suggestions and dropping everything to help me. They understand what it is like to be new and build a new program." Professors she says, have also dropped by to introduce themselves and ask if they can help her in any way. Gilroy is very grateful for all the welcoming gestures, and assumes it is just a prime example of Southern hospitality.
Keep an eye out for this new program as it develops and be sure to cheer on the team as it competes in its inaugural season in spring 2012. A schedule and roster for Catawba's newest sport will be posted soon.