Published: April 21, 2016
The University’s men’s lacrosse team is looking to finish the season strong, as the Royals are hoping for a successful postseason run.
In their most recent game, the Royals dominated Merchant Marine Academy, winning 20-5. Twelve players scored for the Royals, including five players who scored at least twice.
After dropping their first game of the year, the Royals went on an impressive seven-game win streak. In their last two games, the Royals have outscored their opponents 31-7.
Senior captain Alec Mikrut said everything clicked on Saturday, which has been a rarity this year.
“Saturday was really the first time all year we played a consistent game. It’s either we would kill it the first half, and lack in the second half, or vice versa,” Mikrut said. “We really came out swinging and were able to put two halves together.
It was nice to have everything click for once.”
Mikrut also explained how Saturday’s dominant performance helped the Royals’ playoff chances.
“Saturday was kind of make-or-break, but we now have a much better shot at going to the playoffs,” Mikrut said.
With a current record of 11-3, the Royals have already surpassed their 10-game win total from a season ago.
Furthermore, the team has a serious chance of finishing with the best record in the history of The University. The best record in University history belongs to the 2008 team that finished 12-5. The Royals would have to win out to accomplish that, but it is not something that is completely out of the realm of possibility.
However, Mikrut noted the team has not been preoccupied with breaking records, instead focusing on playoff redemption.
“I honestly don’t think anyone’s thought about that (the record). We’re focused on the playoffs, and if everyone comes out and plays like we’ve been playing recently, I think we’ll be pretty solid,” Mikrut said. “I think we’re peaking at the right time. Some teams started really hot, putting together big wins, but now they’re kind of faltering. We’re really starting to gain momentum.”
In last year’s playoffs, the Royals came up one goal short against Catholic University in the Landmark Conference finals.
Mikrut said the team turned that loss into a positive, and used it as extra motivation.
“Last year we came up one goal short, so our mantra for this year was ‘one goal at a time,’” Mikrut said. “Basically, we try not to think too far ahead, don’t worry about two games from now. Worry about what’s in front of you.”
Fellow senior captain Brad Elkin said the way the team practices has helped them find success on the field.
“Before practices, we really just emphasize being confident in what we do. From shooting the ball, to playing defense, whoever’s on the field, we try to make sure they’re confident,” Elkin said. “We also have a big next-play mentality. So instead of harping on your mistakes, get up and do better on the next play.”
Elkin went on to say the way the members of the team hold each other accountable for mistakes is invaluable.
“The atmosphere has been very positive and on a good note,” Elkin said. “But we also make sure we hold each other accountable for mistakes. It’s important for the success that we try to be the best we can be. It’s been nice seeing some younger guys hold older guys, like myself, accountable.”
With two games left, Elkin said balance is going to be paramount.
“Playing with a strong defensive unit is going to be huge. Our goalie, Nick McKaba, has been playing really strong recently, so keeping up that defense is going to be key. Defense wins championships, after all,” Elkin said.
In regard to the offense, Elkin said the Royals need to continue playing cohesively, helping set each other up.
“With respect to the offense, we’ve been flowing well with (Nick) Swift, Alec, (Josh) Kasman,” Elkin said. “A lot of us out there are helping get the attackmen going. On offense, we need to keep making all of our shots count and make sure we’re ending every possession with a shot. Our offense and defense needs to continue working as a unit.
The Royals’ next two games are Saturday at Elizabethtown College and April 30 against Landmark Conference rival Catholic University.
The latter will be played at 1 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Field.
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