While womenâ€™s lacrosse is almost literally a brand new sport to Fresno, the city may have the most talked-about lacrosse team in the country.
It seems everyone has an opinion on the team, its future, its place in the community and the Valley -â€” even its right to exist. But after Thursday the talk should mercifully subside and lay dormant until next spring.
The Fresno State lacrosse team ended their first regular season April 13 with an 18-1 beat down at the hands of Denver.
They will play their first â€“ and surely last â€“ game of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament tomorrow at 1 p.m. against Oregon in Palo Alto.
Currently, the team is much better known for off-the-field controversies than on-the-field performance. Some have reduced the teamâ€™s very existence to just another example of the unfairness of Title IX.
Others have lashed out at the university as it continues to struggle with adjusting to a policy that took effect in 1972.
Of course, none of this is the fault of the players or coaches.
â€œPeople need to look at the big picture,â€ said Sue Behme, head coach of the fledgling team. â€œThere are so many variables, not only with Title IX, but with the entire office of civil rights.â€
Behme is enthusiastic about the team and her position as head coach. She says she is swamped with interest for next year and already has ten commitments.
Behme was also quick to note the community support, saying, â€œWe had the highest overall attendance in the conference this year, over 500 fans a game. I really want to thank Fresno for that.â€
Now that itâ€™s over, letâ€™s look at the numbers for the inaugural season:
13: number of games played.
3: number of home games played.
4: number of time zones the team played in.
8: number of states the team played in.
0: number of wins.
229: number of goals by opponents.
37: number of goals by Fresno State.
218: number of total turnovers by opponents.
275: number of total turnovers by Fresno State.
23: number of players on the Fresno State team.
6: number of players with any previous lacrosse experience.
2: number of players with lacrosse experience in the last three years.
0: number of local high schools fielding a womenâ€™s lacrosse team for the 2008-09 school year.
7: number of local high schools fielding a womenâ€™s lacrosse team for the 2009-10 school year.
12: number of womenâ€™s lacrosse scholarships available under NCAA rules.
6: number of scholarship players for Fresno State this season.
9: number of scholarship players for Fresno State next season.
5: number of sports added or dropped by Fresno State since 2004 in an effort to seek Title IX compliance.