Come fall 2013, College of Saint Elizabeth (CSE) soccer and lacrosse players will understand the true meaning of home field advantage. As construction of their new $1M natural grass field at the east end of campus nears completion, home games will bring an excitement and vitality to campus not seen in the past, when games were played at a rented facility in Somerset, N.J.
Start up money for the project was made possible through the generosity of alumnae/i, institutions such as Provident Bank Foundation, as well as the partnerships of the Sister of Charity, Saint Elizabeth Academy, and CSE. However, further donations are being accepted by the Institutional Advancement Department to complete the endeavor. This same partnership model was used in 2007 for successful construction of shared softball and tennis facilities at the Academy. (Anyone wishes to donate to the athletic field project can visit https://cse.thankyou4caring.org/.)
“Having an on-campus facility will have a huge impact on our athletic program,” says Kaitlin Burud, associate director of athletics/sports information director at CSE. “It will help develop a fan base of families, faculty, staff and students…as well as help in attracting student athletes to CSE.”
Athletes agree. “The new athletic field will make our school spirit even stronger,” says Barbara Beresova, ’13, psychology major, captain of the lacrosse team. “As an athlete having the support of our school at home games will truly mean a lot.” Soccer and lacrosse player Dina Toledo, ’13, elementary/early childhood education major, concurs. “The new field on campus will be a tremendous asset to CSE, because it will allow individuals throughout our community to watch sporting events that they are currently not able to see…having a field on campus will allow the campus community to truly support student athletes.”
In addition to broadening the fan base, the on-campus field is expected to save athletes travel time, eliminate costs of renting and traveling to off-campus facilities. Athletics is a strong part of the CSE tradition with many teams competing since the early 1900s. Today, CSE is a member of the Division III North Eastern Athletic Conference, giving students an opportunity to participate in sports for love of the game, camaraderie, and leadership development.
“Women’s athletics are crucial for growth and development of students on all academic levels,” says Toledo. “Athletics allows individuals to find a place where they fit in with a group of one’s peers who share the same likes and interests…these teams, regardless of what the sport is, allow individuals to learn how to support others that some people may not get outside of the classroom or even within their families.” For Beresova, sports is also about leadership, “I could not be happier…it feels good to be an athlete at CSE,” she says. “It helps me improve my leadership skills ...it gives me a way to earn my teammates’ respect.”