The University of Chicago Department of Athletics & Recreation announced in January 2017 that women's lacrosse will be added as an intercollegiate sport, with varsity competition slated to commence in the 2018-19 academic year.
The current UChicago women's lacrosse club team will play an enhanced club schedule in 2017-18 in preparation for varsity competition. The club team will be elevated to intercollegiate status and kick off its inaugural season in spring 2019.
With the inclusion of women's lacrosse, UChicago will offer 20 varsity sports (10 men's and 10 women's) that compete at the NCAA Division III level.
Kate Robinson was named the program's first head coach in May 2017. Robinson began her coaching career at Whitman, which competes at the NCAA Division III level within the Northwest Conference. She was also that program's first head coach as the Blues moved from club to varsity status under her guidance. Over her three years, Whitman doubled its win totals in each subsequent season. After posting two victories in 2015 and four in 2016, Robinson's squad peaked with a 9-6 record in 2017. The Blues also took second place in the NWC with a 6-2 conference record.
The continued ascent in the win column helped Robinson earn recognition as the NWC Coach of the Year in both 2016 and 2017. Her teams produced 12 All-NWC players during her tenure, including five this past season. Sophomore Lindsay Schwartz was named the NWC Player of the Year and Mary Noyes garnered NWC Freshman of the Year accolades. Schwartz was also picked as a First Team All-Region honoree by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA).
Before her arrival at Whitman, Robinson spent two years as assistant coach at Stevens Institute of Technology and one year as graduate assistant coach at her alma mater, The Catholic University of America.
When UChicago women's lacrosse makes its varsity debut, it will do so as an associate member of the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) at the start of the 2018-19 academic year.
The CCIW began sponsoring women's lacrosse during the 2014-15 academic year. UChicago will become the eighth women's lacrosse team in the league and the second associate member alongside the University of Dubuque. The six CCIW full members include Augustana College, Carroll University, Carthage College, Elmhurst College, Illinois Wesleyan University and North Central College.
At the end of the conference schedule each season, the top four women's lacrosse teams will take part in the CCIW's conference tournament. The eventual champion will receive an automatic qualification into the NCAA Division III Championship field.