It is well known that many talented players come out of the state of Utah and go on to play at all levels of the NCAA and MCLA. It is also well known that Virginia has many NCAA lacrosse teams, especially at the Division 3 level. However, what might come as a surprise to a lot of people is that there is a Division 3 lacrosse team in Virginia where almost half of the team is comprised of players from Utah. That team is the Southern Virginia University Men’s Lacrosse program.
Southern Virginia is a small college located the Blue Ridge Mountains in the town of Buena Vista. Although it is not officially affiliated with a specific faith, the school aligns their values with those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint (LDS Church), which is the first reason many Utah players decided to play for SVU. About 60% of Utahns are LDS members, and so for LDS players who want to attend a school with LDS values, SVU is a great fit.
It should be noted there are plenty of Utah players that are not LDS who go on to play at other NCAA schools and there are LDS members on the team not from Utah. There are also non-LDS members on the team as anyone can play at SVU regardless of religion.
Another big reason for the pipeline of Utah players to Southern Virginia is through head coach, Jason Lamb. Coach Lamb has been a huge figure in lacrosse, but especially in the MCLA. The New York native was a two-year captain at BYU and after graduating and went on to become the team’s first ever non-playing coach in 1995. At the end of his time in Provo in 2010, he had amassed a record of 213-69 (.755) along with seven RMLC Championships, and three MCLA National Championships.
Off the field, he helped establish the league officially into the MCLA and was league president from 1997-2003. He left BYU to be an assistant for the Denver Outlaws and helped start up the NCAA Division 2 Adams State’s Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse teams. From 2012-13 he served as Director of Operations for Notre Dame. In 2014 he became the Head Coach of Southern Virginia, two years after their last MCLA season, which they had been a part of since 2004.
In a sport where many players come from the East Coast and where many smaller schools are mainly made up of players from that state, Southern Virginia is a great example of how the sport is growing across the country. West Coast NCAA Division 2 and Division 3 teams are all made up of great players mainly from the West Coast. These teams all do well, but still face the disadvantage of having to travel a lot more than the East Coast teams of the same division. Southern Virginia is unique in that it is located on the East Coast, but made up of West Coast players from Utah, California, Arizona, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, and even other non-traditional states such as Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and North Dakota.
The Southern Virginia Men’s Lacrosse program is also coming off of their best season yet, finishing 14-5, winning the USA South regular season and tournament title while making it to the second round of the NCAA Division 3 Tournament. The growth of lacrosse can be seen all over the country in terms of where teams are located and where players are coming out of. The Southern Virginia Men’s Lacrosse program is one interesting example that people should definitely know about.