posted 05.08.13 at 5.15 p.m. by Clare Lochary

Davidson to Join Atlantic 10 in July 2014

Davidson College announced today that it will join the Atlantic 10 conference, effective July 1, 2014. The Wildcats’ primary conference affiliation is the Southern Conference, but its women’s lacrosse team competes in the Big South as an affiliate member. After the switch, Davidson will play lacrosse in its new home conference.

The Wildcats have played Division I lacrosse since 2007, and were the 2013 Big South regular season champions. In the inaugural conference tournament, they fell to High Point, 9-7, on April 28, missing out on an NCAA tournament automatic qualifier. Davidson finished the 2013 season with an 11-7 record. Coach Kim Wayne was named the Big South Coach of the Year, and sophomore defender Emily Cooke was the Big South Offensive Player of the Year.

“I think it’s bittersweet. We’ve only been in the Big South for a year and I definitely love the proximity of the other teams. But I also think it’s great for the school,” Wayne said of the realignment. “Typically, our out of conference schedule is up north, and now we’ll just flip it. Our conference games will be farther away, but we can player closer teams out of conference.”

The Atlantic 10 currently has eight women’s lacrosse teams, and will add two more in the near future. Davidson will join in 2014, and in February, Virginia Commonwealth University announced plans to field a women’s lacrosse team beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. In recent seasons, UMass has dominated A10 play, winning five straight league titles. The Minutemen have not lost a conference game since the 2010 season. They are slated to play UConn in the first round of the 2013 NCAA tournament on Friday at 6 p.m.

The Big South conference currently has eight members. The NCAA minimum for automatic qualifier eligibility is six members, so the league will retain its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament even with the impending loss of Davidson.