For U.T. lacrosse team, a year of firsts - FOX 13 News

For U.T. lacrosse team, a year of firsts

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The University of Tampa is less than two weeks away from putting another first into the sports record books. The Spartans will host Rollins on February 9th in the first-ever game for the women's lacrosse program.

Head coach Kelly Gallagher spent last season recruiting all over the country, and now is excited to see her work coming to fruition.

"It's exciting," Gallagher says. "Definitely nerve-wracking and overwhelming, but a lot of fun. We have a great group of girls out here working to set the tone and put U.T.'s women's lacrosse on the map."

The roster features more than two dozen freshmen players. Most have come to U.T. to be part of building something new. Arianna Diaz played high school lacrosse for Wesley Chapel. She's the first home-grown Bay area player on the team. Arianna says when she started playing the sport, the opportunities were limited.

Today, this fledgling college team is proof that the sport is booming. It's amazing to see how many teams there are in the area now," Diaz says. "There are so many programs, it's just awesome."

Sophomore Jackie Martin played at Randolph Macon in Virginia last season. The transfer student is the only player with previous college game experience. She loves being part of building the program, and finds the sunshine most agreeable.

"It's Florida," Martin says. "It's the weather...it brings you."

If you have never seen a women's lacrosse game before, February 9th could be a great first. Coach Gallagher certainly believes it will be memorable. "It's a journey," Kelly says. "I'm keeping a smile on my face and taking it as it comes."

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