Men’s lacrosse ended its season with a 5-4 loss to the Catholic University of America in the Landmark Conference championship.
The Royals kept the score close the whole game but were unable to overcome Catholic and its 19 saves in goal. After a strong season, head coach Doug Sage noted how tough the loss was.
“Whenever the season ends it’s always tough, especially when it’s the championship game and you lose by one,” Sage said.
Junior midfielder Nick Mullery also commented on the game.“The championship games are always tough. With two good teams going at it, it’s going to be a close game.
Things just didn’t bounce our way a few times,” Mullery said.
Despite what Sage called an “emotional” loss, he still views the season as a success.
“We had a pretty strong season overall. Just when you’re one goal away from the championship and going to the NCAA tournament it’s tough to process,” Sage said.
Junior goalkeeper Nicholas McKaba called the season a success overall, even with the championship loss.“We had a lot of tough, one-goal losses. Throughout the season; though, we stayed together as a family and stayed positive,” McKaba said. McKaba and Sage both said that one of the greatest strengths of this year’s team was that they were a family.
“That was our number one goal, through thick and thin: to be there for each other. I think the seniors did a great job with that, which you could see through our team chemistry and our family atmosphere,” Sage said.
Men’s lacrosse has five graduating seniors, who Sage commended for all they have done for the program.
“That’s one of the hardest things. Last Saturday was the last time we’ll coach those seniors,” Sage said.
Both Mullery and McKaba will be returning to the team next year to take on leadership roles as seniors.
“It’ll be a tough transition because they were all very good leaders. But our grade, the junior class, is all very close so we have a lot of good guys coming back,” Mullery said.
With this year’s season concluded, Sage explained that the work is never completely over.
“In high school, it’s more of a three-month commitment. With us, it’s a 12-month commitment,” Sage said.
According to Sage, the team will spend the upcoming part of the offseason running, lifting weights and playing lacrosse.
Action will pick up the most when the team starts its fall ball season in September.
The five-week season gives the first-year students their first chance to play and introduces the seniors to their new leadership roles on the team.
“We see what we have and what good of shape the guys are in. That kind of sets the table for the offseason through the winter months to start our season,” Sage said.
Both Mullery and McKaba emphasized the commitment the players make to the sport over the offseason. All of the players work out and play over the summer.
“The key for the offseason is just making sure everybody comes back in good shape and is ready to perform,” Mullery said.