JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- Fresh off their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last five years, the Jacksonville University women's lacrosse team has been hard at work throughout the fall of 2017 both on and off the field. Recently, the squad's passion for incorporating the love of their sport with their support for those around them has been quite evident, with the Dolphins participating in two charity fundraisers in the month of September.
Through the team's contributions to the JEM Memorial Tournament and Cradle for the Cure, they helped assist in the development of lacrosse in Florida, and supported the LAX community coming together to fight the battle of finding a cure for breast cancer. Both events featured youth tournaments that allowed young lacrosse players to compete in exhibition contests, with proceeds benefiting each respective organization.
"We are very happy to partner with causes both inside and outside of lacrosse," Head Coach Mindy McCord said. "Serving is one of our team's core values, and we want to be present in the community to help others around us. Outreach and service allow us to enhance the exposure of lacrosse around us, while helping us to see and respond to needs. A big mission of ours is learning how to serve others, because then you can serve your teammates better on the field, and learn how to be better future wives and moms."
JEM Memorial Tournament: September 23-24, 2017
Named in memoriam of the late James Edward McCord, who devoted his life to helping others fulfill their athletic goals, the Eighth Annual JEM Memorial Tournament took place at D.B. Milne Field on the campus of Jacksonville University. Organized by Coach McCord and her husband Paul, who is an Assistant Coach on the team, the event aims to further the development of lacrosse in Florida, and working in conjunction with the Living Crosse Foundation. The tournament allowed middle and high school lacrosse players to learn the JU lacrosse "system", and then put it to the text by competing in 5v5 and "Queen of the Turf" competitions. The 2017 edition of the fundraiser benefited the Corey Lovrich Scholarship Fund at JU, as well as the JU women's lacrosse fund, and various local girls youth lacrosse initiatives in Duval County.
"We created the event in honor of Paul's father, who passed away in a car accident, so we try to educate on driver safety awareness," McCord said. "The idea is to create a fun community event where we put on a clinic on day one, and then a tournament the next day. We host over 200 youth, with some coming from as far as South Florida. It gives them an opportunity to compete, and also get on campus and see JU, so we can market this wonderful school."
Cradle for the Cure: September 30, 2017
One week after the JEM Memorial Tournament's success, The Dolphins helped facilitate the seventh annual Cradle for the Cure benefit tournament. Founded in 2009 by Bill Hanrahan in honor of his wife Tracey, a breast cancer survivor herself, the event aims to bring the local lacrosse community together annually for a worthy cause. Held at the Indian Trails Sports Complex in Palm Coast, Fla., the competition featured scrimmages between Jacksonville, Rollins University, and Emory-Riddle Aeronautical University. High school and middle school area lacrosse teams then competed in 7v7 tournament contests, with the top finishers earning a spot at the 2017 World 7's Lacrosse Championships at JU. Proceeds from the event went to benefit the Passionately Pink for the Cure Foundation, which works alongside Susan G. Komen to raise funds to combat breast cancer.
"The day before we go to the event, we divide our team into four groups, with each having to do a presentation on Breast Cancer awareness," McCord said. "One of our players' mother is a breast cancer survivor, so it definitely hits close to our team. Our goal is to spread awareness about breast cancer to our team and those we are around, because early detection is the key."
Whether performing on the turf or off the field by helping around the community, the Jacksonville women's lacrosse squad continues to spread a message of hope and selflessness while promoting lacrosse around North Florida. The team continues to participate in scrimmages throughout the fall season, setting their sights on the 2018 lacrosse season just months away.