Play with Purpose: Story Behind Epoch's First Women's Stick

Emily Plahn, a former Minnesota college club player, is a product engineer at Epoch Lacrosse and part of the brains behind the Purpose, Epoch's first women's stick.

Silicon Valley’s “Brotopia,” as depicted in a scathing book by Emily Chang, feels a far way from Roseville, Minn., where a 27-year-old female engineer crafted one of the most exciting lacrosse stick innovations of 2018.

Emily Plahn, product engineer at Epoch Lacrosse, and industrial designer Evan McDonell are the brains behind the patent-pending 15-degree bottom rail technology that distinguishes the Purpose, Epoch’s first women’s head, from any other stick on the market.

Developed using the latest CAD and 3-D printing technology, the Purpose has a contoured shape that allows for a better hold on the ball but still meets the strict pocket depth and performance requirements of US Lacrosse and the NCAA.

Plahn, who played lacrosse for the club team at the University of Minnesota and coaches at the youth and high school levels, said the women’s game has evolved at a faster pace than stick technology.

“The game has changed. Girls are a lot more dynamic in their cradling and how they shoot,” Plahn said. “Girls like a higher pocket and a quicker release from all different levels.”

While conducting market research, Plahn found that when players performed these moves, the ball rattled around in their sticks and they struggled to find a consistent release point. The solution? Alter the geometry of the stick to create an offset relationship between the bottom rail, the scoop and the rise of the head with the center axis of the shaft.

“We use 15-degree technology to put the ball exactly where it wants to stay to be able to do really cool dodges and get more accurate shots,” Plahn said.

Plahn started at Epoch as a product development intern in 2014 before joining the company full-time in 2015. She spearheaded the development of the Purpose alongside McDonell.

“There are not many female engineers in the game,” said James Miceli, Epoch founder and co-owner. “To have a female engineer who actually played lacrosse, we called it the unicorn. We knew we had authenticity in the space. This wasn’t a bunch of dudes that said, ‘This is what women want.’”

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