Martinville Bulletin: SRSC hosts women’s lacrosse tournament
This the second straight year the SRSC has hosted the tournament, and SRSC Director Billy Russo wants the tournament to become a success in the Martinsville area.
"David Pomeroy and his partner Mindy Stone came together to start this tournament and a few years ago we went to a lacrosse convention we met David and he said he was interested in bringing the event here and we said that would be great," Russo said.
The tournament was started to increase tournament play on the East Coast, Stone said.
"We started the tournament basically to get college clubs on the East Coast a tournament to play in, because the only ones they have are out west," she said. "So this gives teams on the East Coast and even in the central part of the U.S. a chance to come out here and play closer to home."
The tournament began Friday and will wrap up today. The last game will start at 2 p.m.
This year, it features 16 teams, including a few in-state schools such as James Madison University, Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. Also taking part were teams from Army, Southern Methodist University, Duke, Oakland University and others.
There is no tournament champion. Instead, the teams use the games as part of their regular season schedule.
Stone, who has come to Martinsville for the two tournaments, said the SRSC is the perfect place for the event.
"Originally the tournament was in North Carolina, but we wanted a facility with turf fields and that was a bit bigger," she said. "So after a lot of research we found the SRSC and we decided to hold the tournament here. Everyone loves it here. It has great scenery, and the fields are great."
Some of the coaches said they enjoy playing in games without having to travel far,
One exception is Southern Methodist University. Coach Liz Holmes brought her team from Dallas, Texas, to give her players the chance to play in front of family.
"We love that the competition is great and the facility is beautiful. We're from Dallas so the trip here is a big expense for us, but we come here to play the best teams," Holmes said. "One of the reasons we come here is that we have more fans here than we do in Texas, because most of our girls are from the East Coast. We come here every chance we get so their families can see their daughters play."
James Madison University is the defending national champions and the team everyone wants to beat. Player/manager Ellen Keel uses the tournament to get her team to face a variety of opponents.
"This is our third year in this tournament and it's always really fun to come to because we can play teams from all over," Keel said. "It's always good competition as well. We played Oakland yesterday and today we play a team from Texas. Every team that comes here is good so it's always stiff completion."
In addition to giving collegiate teams a chance to play on the East Coast, the tournament gives younger girls interested in the sport a chance to see it played at a high level.
Russo said a local lacrosse team also is a possibility.
"We're look to start a club here locally," Russo said. "It probably won't be at the high school level initially, but we definitely will do something at the grassroots level with kids. We've been talking with Danville because they don't have it either, so we've been experimenting with a regional lacrosse club here and we'll see if we can get some kids interested."