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Moravian lacrosse players speak out against program cuts

Sunday, 28th February 2010

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Features, Girl's/Women's  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 2/28/10

Members of the Moravian College men’s and women’s lacrosse teams have expressed their disgust and disappointment at the recent decision by administrators to drop their programs after the conclusion of the year.

The move to cut the teams was made after an extensive two-month review of the college’s financial crisis brought on by the struggling economy, according to Moravian public relations director Michael Wilson. The players and coaches were informed 10 days ago at a special meeting.

“It’s kind of hard to think that this is my last year of competitive lacrosse,” said junior co-captain Christopher Mohapp, a graduate of Central Bucks South. “When you’re a senior, you expect it, but as a junior it’s hard to handle.

“Up until now, everything has been great in my college experience at Moravian. Now, instead of looking at my senior year as my most memorable and enjoyable of times, it is turning into a job where all I will be is going to class and moving on to the next stage of my life.”

“That’s what’s so frustrating” added junior attack player Shannon Algeo (Spring-Ford graduate) of the women’s team. “You work so hard and your senior year is taken out from under you. You lose the privilege of being a senior, and maybe a captain and everything else.”

Wilson said the administrators looked at all aspects of the college’s finances and made other cuts – such as failing to fill positions and restructuring academic programs and staff.
“The college underwent a review process of all programs and personnel across the board, which included athletics,” said Wilson. “We went through a big cost reduction process to find expenses that could be reduced for the next few years.

“Within athletics, a comprehensive vitality review process for each athletic program was conducted. We looked at the overall quality, the history, the tradition, the competitive success, the budget.”

The elimination of the lacrosse teams will reduce the number of Division III varsity sports to 18 and save the college ”hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Wilson said. The school plans to offer club lacrosse teams next year if enough interest is shown.

Algeo said the players were dissatisfied with the way administrators refused to answer their questions when they were told the programs were being dropped.

“We kept asking questions and we weren’t getting any answers,” she said. “They kept walking around the whole situation and we felt it came up on us so quickly. That hurt so much.”

The lacrosse teams are the newest in the college; the women have been playing for eight years and the men for seven. All the sports teams learned in the last month that the college was considering cuts.

“They told us three weeks earlier that every team was being considered,” Algeo said. “We know we have the fewest alumni since we’re the newest sport.

“We asked them, ‘How did it get so bad that they needed to cut the entire program?’ But they didn’t give us a straight answer. They said they needed to increase financial aid and that they had to cut a big team to make up money.”

Algeo will graduate in a year with a degree in psychology. She said she will miss playing in her final year and felt the team had continued to grow in numbers and talent since her arrival.
“I love the campus and all the professors,” Algeo said. “I came here for the lacrosse. What’s so upsetting is that my coach (Temple graduate Kate Miller) isn’t going to be around. I am so used to going to her office when I need someone to talk to.”

Moravian, which went 0-6 (6-10 overall) last year as a member of the Landmark Conference, opens its season Saturday, March 6 vs. Bryn Mawr College in the Tri-Co Invitational at Swarthmore College.

“You pretty much have the mentality that you need to make it the best season you can,” said Algeo, who started in nine games last year. “You have to play as hard as you can because this is your last chance. You have to leave everything on the field.”

Senior attack Paige Warbrick, a Souderton graduate who scored 24 goals last year, will graduate with a double degree in Political Science and Sociology. She said her years as a student-athlete at Moravian were fantastic and expressed disappointment that others would not have the same opportunities.

“I’m so disappointed that the program is ending for my teammates and coaches,” she said. “We have special coaches and teammates that have made the experience very worthwhile. I will appreciate the memories.

“I can’t say enough about how the coaches and teammates have touched all our lives. There is a legacy here and I hope one day it can return so others can have the positive experiences I had.”

Mohapp said the team’s numbers (30 players on the roster) were never higher and that there were many recruits coming next year until the news broke. “We were just beginning to build up the program and get the numbers over 40,” he said. This year the Greyhounds are 0-2 after Saturday’s loss at McDaniel College.

Mohapp, who is majoring in secondary education and plans to become a mathematics teacher, said he made a bold statement during the meeting when administrators were unable to answer questions given by angry players.

“One of the players asked, ‘Now, what are we supposed to do?” he said. “I stood up and said, ‘One thing as a team and lacrosse program is for us to work our hardest and win.’ I didn’t want them to hear another administrator give an answer.

“That joy and good feeling from winning will totally outweigh the pain and frustration of knowing this will be our last chance. Our attitude is that if this is it, we better get the most out of it and do as well as we can.”



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