The Midland University women’s lacrosse team recently received the Team Community Award from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association. The Team Community Awareness Award recognizes teams that contribute significantly to their community, and Midland was named the NAIA recipient for the honor.
The lacrosse team engaged in several different activities to benefit multiple groups throughout the year. They worked with Habitat for Humanity, the Dodge County Humane Society, read to elementary school children via Zoom and helped with snow removal for elderly Fremont residents. The team was also active in hosting clinics for youth and high school players in the Fremont, Omaha, and Lincoln areas.
Coach Malia Shimabukuro said the goal was to do a community service project each month throughout the season. “It’s an opportunity for our team to be engaged and realize this is bigger than themselves,” she said. “We want our team to understand that doing community work is rewarding. It allows them to see the impact they are making.”
Shimabukuro stressed that being a team extends beyond making an impact on the field. “It’s more than just lacrosse; we’re a family that does things together,” she said. “We want to create opportunities to serve others, not just ourselves. We are very humbled to receive this honor, but we don’t do this for recognition. We are displaying core values of Midland University, and this goes way beyond our sport and into our everyday lives.”
Midland also provided an outlet for local high school lacrosse teams when it hosted the semifinals and championship match of the Midwest Girls Lacrosse League at Heedum Field in May. The tournament featured some of the top teams from both Nebraska and Iowa. “We are the only university in Nebraska that has women’s lacrosse, so it’s a unique opportunity for us,” Shimabukuro said. “We want to develop more lacrosse players at the club and high school levels, and we’re excited to see our partnership with the MGLL continue to grow.”