NAPLES, Fla. (Dec. 8, 2010) - The George Mason women's lacrosse team was awarded the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Team Community Awareness Award for Division I programs as announced by the organization. The award recognizes the Patriots for their hard work and dedication in the community.

Head coach Lauren Rywak was presented with the award during the annual IWLCA meetings awards banquet at The Ritz-Carlton in Naples the weekend of November 17.

"It was a great honor to be introduced in front of all my peers, not only at the Division I level, but the II and III landscape as well," said Rywak on receiving the award. "To be able to accept that award on behalf of the team was a great honor for me."

An emphasis for the team, Mason has participated in numerous community service events throughout the year. Most recently, the team helped raise money for the Shelter House and adopted a family for the holiday season.

"I think one of the best things about the girls getting involved in the community service as they have the past two years, is that they enjoy doing it," commented Rywak. "They enjoy going out there, reaching out to the community and giving back."

In November the team participated in a canned food drive for Hunger & Homelessness Week in addition to volunteering during the CAA Blood Drive.

At the Girl Scouts Activity Day at Manassas Fairgrounds in October, the Patriots taught girl scouts the game of lacrosse and also participated in the Happy Heart Walk. Mason opened the season volunteering during Turn Off the Violence week on campus, an initiative that honors female survivors of violence.

"Community service gives us a great opportunity to see each other outside the lacrosse field and work with each other," Rywak noted. "It helps us build a team bond and leadership. It is nice to see some of the girls branch out and display their leadership skills they find in the community."

Mason opens its 2011 season with eight contests on the road beginning February 11 at UMBC.