Cassandra Berger was named head women's lacrosse coach on December 12, 2018. UW-La Crosse will start varsity competition in 2019-20 with games being played in spring. Home games will be played on the UWL soccer field at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex.
Women's lacrosse is the 21st varsity sport and the 12th for women at UWL.
"Cassandra has great energy and a personality that will serve her well in starting a program," said UWL Director of Athletics Kim Blum. "I've been very impressed with her initiative and work ethic."
Berger earned four letters in lacrosse at the University of Dubuque (Iowa), serving as team captain her senior season. She earned Dubuque's (Iowa) Coaches Award and was named to the Midwest Lacrosse Conference All-Academic Team. Berger earned her bachelor's degree with a triple major in accounting, human resource management and business administration from Dubuque (Iowa) in 2016 and is currently pursuing her master's degree in business administration.
She had been an assistant women's lacrosse coach at Dubuque (Iowa) since August 2018, recruiting 12 students to campus for the 2019 season. Berger developed and conducted weekly strength and conditioning plans for the squad while assisting in all aspects of the program.
"I'm incredibly honored to have been selected to coach at UWL, an institution that has such a great reputation from both an athletic and academic standpoint," said Berger. "I've previously had the opportunity to help build a college lacrosse program as an athlete, so now I'm eager to build a lacrosse program as a head coach."
Berger served as a graduate assistant in the Wendt Character Center at the University of Dubuque (Iowa), supervising 60 Wendt Character Scholars and serving as the Director of Social Media.
"I am thrilled to be involved in the evolution of this program," added Berger. "This is a very exciting time for me, for UWL, and for anyone who is interested in lacrosse, the fastest growing sport in the Midwest."
Megan Smith starts her first season as an assistant coach with the UW-La Crosse lacrosse program. She will also serve as an assistant media relations director for the Eagles.
Smith arrives at UWL after serving as an assistant lacrosse coach at State University of New York at Fredonia since August 2018. She assisted with all aspects of the program with the Blue Devils. Prior to going to SUNY Fredonia, Smith was an assistant lacrosse coach at Hilbert College (N.Y.) for one season.
She earned her bachelor's degree in sports management from Medaille College (N.Y.) in 2017 and is currently pursuing her master's degree in sports administration from Canisius College (N.Y.). Smith was a volunteer assistant lacrosse coach at Canisius (N.Y.) in 2017. She has been coaching for the Orchard Park (N.Y.) Central School District since 2012.
Smith was the lacrosse team captain at Medaille (N.Y.) in 2016-17. She played in 33 career games for the Mavericks while being named to the 2016 All-North Eastern Athletic Conference Second Team. Smith, who served as the SAAC Club President at Medialle (N.Y.), scored 66 career goals while recording nine assists for 75 points. She attended Hilbert (N.Y.) for two years, serving as lacrosse team captain in 2014-15 and earning MVP honors. Smith was selected for Team USA for the Prague Lacrosse Cup in 2015.
A 2001 graduate of West Bend (Wis.) East High School, Czerniak was a member of two (1999, 2000) Wisconsin Little Ten Conference championship teams. He served as a team captain in 2000, earning first team all-conference and honorable mention all-Southeastern Wisconsin accolades. Czerniak was named the 2001 Wisconsin Collegiate Conference Player of the Year while attending University of Wisconsin-Washington County.