On Monday September 21st women’s lacrosse coach Emelia Ward officially resigned from her position. She is leaving Kalamazoo College after accepting a Division 2 position at Pfeiffer University in South Carolina.
Ward, previously an assistant at Adrian College, would have been in her third season as head coach of the women’s lacrosse program at K. Ward built the Lady Hornets team from the ground up, starting four years ago with a club team.
After a year of club level competition, the Hornets participated in NCAA play for the first time in 2014. The Hornets had an overall win percentage of .379 in their first two seasons. Some of the players on the team had never picked up a stick until then.
With Ward’s departure, many feel as though there is a hole to fill. Vincent Redko, head men’s lacrosse coach, is a member of the board who will seek to replace Ward soon.
“The hope is to find the ‘right’, and I stress the ‘right’ candidate by the end of the fall term,” said Redko.
In the meantime, Robert Mallonee, assistant men’s lacrosse coach, will fill in as interim head coach for the women, and the nontraditional fall season still began on Monday.
As Ward moves on to Pfeiffer, she leaves behind a committed group of young women. Two of these young women, seniors Daria Lewis K’16 and Elizabeth Arellano K’16 have been with her since the beginning.
“Her departure is hurting us,” says Lewis.
Arellano, a relatively newcomer to the sport, says, “She taught me to play. I thank coach [Ward] for everything she’s done for me and the team.”
With a crucial piece of the Lady Hornets team missing, Arellano and her teammates’ eyes are still ahead. “Right now we have to focus on keeping our team together,” says Arellano.“We’ve got to take what we’re given and run with it.”
The women are looking to build on what they started with Ward, working hard to prepare for the upcoming spring season.