HIRAM, OHIO — For roughly half her life, Erika Blozie has lived what she’s loved. In her new life at Hiram, that love will culminate in a huge career milestone: She’ll be a head coach for the first time with the first team in the first season of Terrier women’s lacrosse when her charges take the field in the spring of 2013.
“Once I got a lacrosse stick in my hand, I’d found my passion,” says the 2005 graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University who’s coming from a three-year assistant coaching stint at Stevenson University in Maryland. She was also head field hockey coach there. “What I still wanted to do was coach lacrosse. I wanted to offer girls the same opportunity I had.”
Hiram becomes the ninth lacrosse team in the North Coast Athletic Conference, but it’s not as if the nascent program is going to get any sympathy or won’t have any peers.
“In just this region of the United States, there are a lot of colleges adding teams,” Blozie says. “Those are the teams we’re looking to play in the first few years. There’s certainly going to be competition the next few years trying to recruit players at Hiram. At the same time, lacrosse is growing at the same rate, so the number of players is growing.”
No stone will be left unturned when it comes to putting together a team. Blozie says that she will likely visit upward of 50 schools in the area just to get Hiram’s name out there. Then, there are the community college athletes who may want to try a four-year institution. And she won’t forget the on-campus students with athletic backgrounds.
“We want to get a bit of a jump-start so we’re not in the same position next year,” Blozie says. “We want them to see that we’re a good option if you want to play lacrosse in college.”
It doesn’t hurt that Hiram has upgraded its facilities in preparation for the program, including synthetic turf and lights. “It’s definitely a big advantage,” Blozie says. “You’re not fighting with other teams for practice times, you don’t have to cut practices short because of two or three other teams trying to get in. And adding turf is necessary to be competitive in this region, so you can get outside as much as other teams do.”
While the lacrosse culture may have a better foothold where she’s from, she’s undaunted. “I’ve been able to get a good feel for the areas where the sport is predominant,” she says. “We’re trying to get out there as much as possible, to expand our networking. It’s just relearning it for this region.”
Her goal is close to realization, and Hiram had a lot to do with her move from an east-centered life.
“My drive was to become that head lacrosse coach,” Blozie says. “Not only at Hiram would I have my own team, but I got to start it from nothing. I wasn’t taking over anyone else’s position. It’s a