Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2014
Gretchen Lasda '04 recently seized on an opportunity to get in touch with her Latvian heritage and remain involved with lacrosse, the sport she loves. Lasda served as the head coach of the Latvian National Women's Lacrosse team for the 2013 World Cup that was held in Oshawa, Canada, last summer.
Lasda played lacrosse at West Genesee High School, where she won a sectional championship in 1998 before becoming a member of the William Smith lacrosse team. After graduating from HWS, she worked as an event manager with Synergy Events and Bounce Entertainment and then became an independent specializing in large scale event organization. Among other assignments, Lasda has worked the Super Bowl and will work the World Lacrosse Games in Denver in July.
As such, Lasda decided to reach out to the Latvian Women's Lacrosse team to offer her logistical expertise. However, only the head coach position was available and she hadn't coached since 2010. She took on the role after representatives from the Latvian Lacrosse Federation (LLF) assured her that she could carry out most of the duties remotely via Skype and email.
She made her first visit to the team in Latvia in March 2013, becoming the first in her family to return in two generations. Her sister Rachel Lasda served as a player/coach.
In its first World Cup appearance, the team ended up earning 17th place, just behind Finland and before Hong Kong. The U.S. women's lacrosse team took the Gold.
The LLF entered the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) just last year as its first year, after meeting certain criteria. This criteria included meeting a minimum number of women players, coaches and officials, having a structured domestic competition and playing in game FIL recognized. The team competed in their first European Lacrosse Championship in June, 2012, which allowed them to join.
Lasda earned her B.A. in sociology and studied abroad in 2002 in Vietnam.
In the photo above, Lasda (in jeans) and her team take part in the opening ceremonies of the World Cup.