NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – The Presidents' Athletic Conference has announced it will accept Franciscan men's and women's lacrosse teams as affiliate members, beginning with the 2018-19 academic year.
With its affiliate membership set to officially begin on July 1, 2018, Franciscan's first season of PAC competition in lacrosse will be in 2019. That will also be the first season for men's and women's lacrosse as varsity sports under the PAC banner. PAC lacrosse programs have competed in the single-sport Ohio River Lacrosse Conference (ORLC) since 2015, along with lacrosse-playing members from the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC). The 2018 season will be the final season for PAC members competing in the ORLC.
"The Presidents' Athletic Conference affiliate membership is a tremendous boon for the potential experience of our men's and women's lacrosse players," remarked Director of Athletics, Mike Holmes. "Not only is the league geographically ideal, but it also carries with it a certain level of prestige that will provide our lacrosse programs with a lofty barometer for which they can strive."
Franciscan University began lacrosse in 2013 and has competed as an independent team until 2016. Beginning in 2017, the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference had a partial sponsorship of lacrosse and featured showcase tournaments at the end of the season. The Lady Barons won the showcase in 2017.
"We are excited to be participating in the PAC starting next season," remarked head coach Pete Rosaschi. "We are familiar with most of the schools as we have played most of them. It is a great opportunity for our student-athletes to play in the eight-team conference, vying for a conference championship and in a couple of years, an AQ."
"We are very excited to have been accepted as affiliate members of the PAC," remarked women's lacrosse head coach Maura Conant. "We're familiar with the competition and it's a natural move for us. I am excited for our team to have the opportunity to compete for an NCAA tournament berth, with the AQ that the PAC conference championship brings. This is the next right step for us as a program."
"On behalf of the PAC Presidents' Council, I am very pleased to officially welcome Franciscan University of Steubenville as an affiliate member in the sport of lacrosse," said Westminster College President Dr. Kathy Richardson, who is serving as chair of the PAC Presidents' Council during the 2017-18 academic year. "Under the direction of President Fr. Sean Sheridan, Franciscan is a very good fit as a PAC affiliate member."
"The addition of Franciscan University of Steubenville as a lacrosse affiliate member in the PAC makes sense on a number of levels," said 12th-year PAC Commissioner Joe Onderko. "Franciscan brings a tremendous academic reputation coupled with a deep faith tradition, while being located in our geographic region. Baron athletic teams already compete against several PAC schools in multiple varsity sports, including lacrosse. We believe they will be a great addition to the PAC as we look to strengthen and grow our young lacrosse programs and continue to develop into one of the elite NCAA Division III athletic conferences in the nation."
About Franciscan Athletics
Franciscan University is located in Steubenville, OH and is a full member of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) while holding affiliate membership in the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) and the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC). Franciscan sponsors 16 varsity sport, including seven men's teams and nine women's. As a Catholic University, Franciscan is committed to traditional Catholic values that have been a part of the University's history. These include the development of the human spirit as well as the body, the pursuit of excellence in all endeavors, the fostering of Christian character, the call to personal integrity and the acceptance of personal responsibility.