Published: February 18, 2016
Eventually, the weather will get warmer and the snow will melt. When that happens, spring sports will be ready to commence. Although Spring may seem far away, the spring sports season begins relatively soon. The men’s lacrosse team will be looking to improve on last season’s successes.
Last year the team got off slow, starting the season with a 0-3 record. However, they turned things around in a grand fashion, making a late-season surge. The team beat Goucher University 9-8, and then subsequently beat Susquehanna 9-8 in overtime in the Landmark Conference semifinals.
The Royals made it all the way to the Landmark Conference finals, unfortunately falling to Catholic University 5-4.
Although the season ended in an unfortunate way, the team took the experience as something to learn from and build upon.
Senior goalie Nick McKaba said the team’s offseason mindset has been to get back to the championship and be an all-around better team.
“The mindset was to get back to where we were at the end of last year. We put a lot of emphasis in the weight room and off the field, so we’re ready to hit the ground running and we’re not really spending a lot of time trying to get back into the swing of things,” McKaba said. “We want to make sure we’re focused on lacrosse and not worried about anything else.”
McKaba, who is the Royals’ all-time leader in lowest goals-against average, said the upperclassmen have tried to make sure some of the younger guys know how much work goes into making it deep into the playoffs.
“We had a lot of talks with younger players off the field and in the locker room because we wanted to stress the fact that the chance to make it to the championship game doesn’t come often,” McKaba said.
“It takes a lot of hard work and patience, and it’s not a given any year, you have to work for it. We wanted to make sure they understood where we want to be and how to get there. They need to understand what the goals are, and I think they do.”
The entire team will have to act as a cohesive unit this year, and McKaba said the Royals are expecting a lot of production from younger members of the team.
“There are a few guys who have come in and have stepped up their game and continued their strong performances from the fall,” McKaba said. “We’re looking to get a spark from a few younger guys from an offensive and defensive standpoint. Stephen Bradley, who’s a first-year, adds depth at the defensive midfield position, so that helps us fill spots.”
Fellow senior midfielder Nick Mullery said the team is eager to try to improve on last season’s success by getting some retribution this year.
“We’re all super excited to get back out there and play a real game, especially the way last season ended,” Mullery said. “We have a bad taste in our mouth, and we’re all eager to get some revenge this year.”
Mullery also said the team has been trying to emphasize making sure they finish out close games, citing it as a major improvement.
“I would say the biggest thing we need to improve on is winning close games. We lost several games last year by one goal,” Mullery said. “So this year we want to change the outcome of those close games, so we’re coming out on the winning side. It’s more of a mindset thing, but we’re definitely getting in better shape so we have the advantage in close games.”
The Royals will look to start their season strong, as they begin their season against Cortland State, Wednesday at Fitzpatrick Field.
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