In the spring of 2016, Bethel College will begin a new era of sports affiliation through the addition of women’s lacrosse. This team, a co-ed drumline and a men’s rugby team were all officially announced as new sports programs in October 2014 and begin their inaugural seasons during the 2015-2016 school year. Bethel College currently has a combined 15 different male, female and coed sports for its students to engage in. The women’s lacrosse team will initially be considered a club sport and is set to join the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse League (WCLL). However, with lacrosse receiving an increased amount of popularity throughout recent years, there is hope that the activity may become an officially sanctioned sport with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) by the year 2018. Women’s lacrosse head coach Scott Holmes emphasized the importance in the team starting off as a small, club-level sport and growing. “The ideology is framed around development, whether it’s in business, a team or individual players,” said Holmes. “I believe success can be achieved while avoiding putting ourselves in a position of immediate failure as a start-up program.” Holmes is the first head coach to lead the Lady Pilots of lacrosse into their inaugural season as a Bethel sport. His coaching experience in the sport began at the high school level in 2011. There was a sudden coaching vacancy and he decided to step up as coach for his daughter Jessica’s high school team. Holmes spoke highly of his time spent at the high school level, but also expressed his passion in being granted the experience to coach at a higher-education school such as Bethel. “I love Bethel and believe it’s a phenomenal place to put your stake down,” stated Holmes. “I love what the school stands for and believe God truly blessed me with a way for it all to be incorporated together!” Holmes has a strong desire in being able to provide mentorship and learning opportunities through the confines of sports. He plans to use this position as a way of helping students learn life skills on and off the field. The team doesn’t officially begin matches until this upcoming spring; however, the new and developing squad of girls has already begun preparations for their debut season. Freshman lacrosse player Joy Sustaita is one of many first-time lacrosse players to join the squad. Sustaita played sports growing up, soccer in particular, so she found the new experience in lacrosse as, in her own words, “a great opportunity to start something new while keeping the love for athletics alive.” What the team may lack in experience, it gains back in chemistry. Both Sustaita and Holmes strongly emphasized the strength of this group as not just a team, but a family as well. The united sense of purpose in learning how to play the game as well as competing for a victorious season are driving forces behind this team. Fans and supporters of Bethel College have always seemed to provide its teams with an incredibly apparent love, respect and support year in and year out. Women’s lacrosse appears to be no different in these regards. “There’s been nothing but support and positive energy given from the students, faculty and community,” stated Holmes. “Couldn’t have asked for a better reception for the team, its coaches,and myself.” The Lady Pilots’ lacrosse team is still in the process of finalizing the location of where its home matches will be played, but one can only expect the Bethel faithful and its community to be there and ready to cheer on their new team.