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Asbury University cuts women's lacrosse

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Posted at 3:17 PM, Jul 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-30 15:17:42-04

WILMORE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Asbury University has decided to cut the women's lacrosse program, beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year.

A tribute posted on the program's Instagram page on Friday revealed the university reached the decision because of an "inability to field a team" and a lack of participation.

The women's lacrosse program was first coached by Asbury journalism professor Rich Manieri, who also won the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Coach of the Year the same year. He said he was "very disappointed" when he heard the program had been cut.

"I'm sure it was a tough decision for the university," Manieri said. "We started in 2014 from absolute scratch. Lacrosse was a big unknown here. So, those early years, in which we were pretty competitive, are a tribute to everyone involved, mostly to our players."

Head Coach Nicki Stewart took over for Manieri after 2016.

In the team's recent season, the Eagles reached the level of receiving votes in the NAIA Preseason National Poll and set the single-season team goal record with 180 goals scored.

They later defeated Truett McConnell University in the AAC Tournament Quarterfinals, and players Aubrey Curell, Grace Tatro, and Ashley Byrd were named to the AAC All-Conference Team. Byrd also set program history as the first-ever Asbury women's lacrosse player to hit 100 goals.

Asbury junior Sophia Carmody had played lacrosse for eleven years and initially chose Asbury for its "family-like environment." She said she would miss playing and her teammates' special moments on the field.

"I loved the feeling of standing together with the girls before the game started and really coming together to remember that we played as one," she said. "We really pushed each other to be better players, and there was nothing like having a home game and seeing our families and students come to support us."

For the full announcement from the Asbury Eagles, click here.