The 2014 season will be Northwestern’s women’s lacrosse team’s 13th and final season as a member of the American Lacrosse Conference as they are set to join the newly formed Big Ten women’s lacrosse Conference.
The Big Ten Conference announced Monday the addition of men’s and women’s lacrosse as the conference’s 27th and 28th official sports at the start of the 2014-2015 academic year.
The seven time champions will join Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Maryland, and Rutgers. Michigan’s will debut their women’s varsity squad in 2014 as Maryland and Rutgers will have their first year as Big Ten members.
The men’s lacrosse conference will consist of Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Maryland, Rutgers, and the Big Ten’s first affiliate member John Hopkins.
“This is an extremely exciting announcement for the entire lacrosse community,” Northwestern head coach and five-time National Coach of the Year Kelly Amonte Hiller said.” Gaining the support, stability, TV coverage and brand association of one of the most prestigious college conferences in the country is an enormous step forward for our sport. We are thankful to Commissioner Delany for his leadership in making Big Ten women’s lacrosse a reality and look forward to competing for a Big Ten championship in 2015.”
Northwestern currently boast a 40-13 all-time record against their future Big Ten Conference opponents. They will face stiff conference competition in 2014 from Maryland and Penn State. Maryland’s program as won 11 national championships – including a 13-11 victory over the wildcats in 2010 before losing 8-7 the following year in the final to Hiller’s squad. Penn State claims five national titles of their own, with two coming under the current format.
The addition of men’s and women’s lacrosse will give the Big Ten Conference its 27th official sport in 2014 and the first women’s sport to be added since women’s rowing in 1999.