Lacrosse Hopes to be a Big Score

As the spring semester begins, so does the season for the fastest game on two feet: lacrosse.

First invented by the Native Americans, lacrosse is characterized by the never-ending excitement of full body contact. It is guaranteed to provide the nonstop action of body checking and fast-paced movement.

Lacrosse has definitely taken the Northern United States by storm, but now it is time to bring it down to Florida. Since the University of Tampa draws a high percentage of the student body from the North, it only makes sense that the team will not be filled with rookies.

Leading the team is head coach Robert Mitchell.

A native of Maryland, Mitchell played at the

University of Maryland from 1971 to 1974. There, he was a part of the 1974 National Championship team. After relocating to Tampa, Mitchell felt right at home taking on the volunteer coaching position, as lacrosse is currently a club sport.

“The university wanted to get a program started and wanted the program to become a varsity sport,” Mitchell said. “I am hoping we will be a varsity sport within three years.”

Since lacrosse in the South is really no match for the Northeastern teams, Mitchell hopes to teach his players to play the game correctly.

“My expectations are to build the best program in Florida,” Mitchell said. “And we want to win win win.”

Freshman Chris Sacchinelli, a native of Connecticut, agreed that lacrosse has a much smaller presence down here than up North. However, he also believes that it does seem to be building up a lot more and hopes that one day his sport will be as big here as it is at home.

The team is hoping to become a varsity sport by 2009, joining the Southeastern Lacrosse League (SELC).

And how do the players feel about the possibility of becoming a varsity sport?

They are ecstatic.

Sacchinelli is just one of the many advocates of joining the SELC in the coming years.

“I think that would be awesome for not only us as a team because we really want it, but also for UT as a whole,” Sacchinelli said. “I think we could seriously compete for a title, especially by our junior of senior year.”

This season, the men’s lacrosse team will face off in 12 games against opponents such as USF, Miami, FSU, UNF and Eckerd.

A huge turnout at games is just what this growing program needs. Rest assured that you will not regret it and will immediately fall in love with this exciting game. So come out and support what may be the newest Spartan varsity sport vying for a National Championship in a few years.

Interested in joining the team? Additional players are needed! Practices are three times a week from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. beginning in the end of January.

For more information, Robert Mitchell can be contacted at

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