To show some love to teams at various levels that don’t always get the attention they deserve, we’re beginning a series to shine a light on underappreciated lacrosse programs.
What’s the criteria? That’s a gray area, but there are some general guidelines. For the most part, a team cannot be a perennial powerhouse or the first name you think of when someone says their division. For example, Reinhardt isn’t underappreciated – we all know they’re amazing and the regular top dog in the NAIA.
Now, let’s highlight some organizations that have earned some respect among the underappreciated lacrosse masses.
Underappreciated NAIA Lacrosse Programs
Imagine being one of the top-six teams every year, but because you’re in the same conference as Reinhardt, you never get the respect you truly deserve. That’s the situation University of the Cumberlands finds itself in.
When Cumberlands decided to add lacrosse, I felt it would be a tough sell, solely because there was very little high school lacrosse nearby. Pete Campbell and the university have remained committed to having a premier lacrosse destination in Williamsburg, Kentucky. This shows through their extensive recruiting network, pulling in top talent from all over, and some of the best facilities of any small college.
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
SCAD had success during its MCLA years and turned that success into strong showings year after year in the NAIA. As an independent, SCAD worked hard playing a top schedule year in and year out, but joining the AAC helps the team tremendously by giving it a chance at an automatic qualifying spot. It also puts them with NAIA elite Reinhardt and Cumberlands, elevating its own brand by association and providing high-level competition to compete and compare against.
Not only that, but SCAD does a great job of recruiting to a very specific set of majors – another notch on the underappreciated lacrosse program’s belt.
Anyone in the Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) knows how pesky these guys can be.
Siena Heights has been good for many years and occasionally great at times. It made many runs in the MCLA tournament before becoming a brand name in the NAIA. But why is it an underappreciated lacrosse program? Siena Heights is constantly ranked lower than it deserves, if ranked at all. It also had, and continues to have, some of the most overlooked talent in the NAIA.
Siena Heights is always relevant and always dangerous. Don’t sleep on them.
Underappreciated Programs Series
Check out the teams from other men’s divisions of college lacrosse that don’t get the love they should: