A family atmosphere and sense of unity is what sophomore attack Matthew Johnson says is special about the University of Indianapolis men’s lacrosse team, and what brought the team to its first win of the season over the Maryville University Saints on March 4.
“We are a family. And that’s something that has been huge,” Johnson said. “Last year, we were all freshmen for the most part, and that sense of togetherness and everything is what we are trying to bring together in this team.”
Despite losing their first two games at home by one point each, the men’s tripl to St. Louis, Mo., proved to be successful, with the Greyhounds winning 16-3. The Hounds totaled seven goals in the first half and only allowed the Saints to score their lone three goals of the game. In the second half, the Hounds finished the match with nine unanswered goals to expand their win.
Sophomore attach Shawn Kimble led scoring with six points on five goals, followed by junior midfield Sam Horning with four. Junior midfield Dominic Guarino won 20 of 22 faceoffs.
The previous weekend, the men lost in an overtime battle against Rollins College on Feb. 26. Horning kicked off the scoring one minute into the game, followed by sophomore attack Parker Kump. The Tars scored twice, at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, before the Hounds scored back-to-back goals with less than a minute between them. One came from sophomore midfield Luke Allen and the other by Kump, before the game went into halftime.
The Hounds began the third quarter by scoring three goals in the first three minutes and held off the Tars until the end of the quarter. Rollins came back in the fourth quarter, scoring five goals. The teams ended the quarter in a tie, sending them into an extra quarter, during which the Tars made the final goal, winning the game 9-8. Despite the loss, sophomore goalie Jarod Kimble recorded 11 saves, while freshman attack Parker Johnson scored three goals, followed by Kump with two.
The team began its season losing by one point in the first two games. Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Greg Stocks said the players need to focus toward the end of the games to get the results they want.
“I think finishing has been our biggest issue,” Stocks said. “We have trouble in the fourth quarter executing on both ends of the field.”
After their second game against Rollins, the team spent the week concentrating on finishing in everything they do, Matthew said.
“The whole mantra of this week is finish,” he said. “We use it in the weight room, finish every rep, finish every set, just trying to push everything. And in practice, it has kind of been the same mentality. I think finishing has been our prime issue.”
This is only the second season of the lacrosse program at UIndy, and the team is consists of mostly freshmen and sophomore student-athletes. Stocks said that he thinks the team stacks up well against older and more developed programs, but still needs to work to get to where it wants to be in the future.
“I think [last year] we laid a pretty good foundation, and we’ve just got to put in the work to build the actual program itself,” Stocks said. “We’re headed in the right direction, but we’re still young, and we’ve got to quit making the young program mistakes and stop having the freshman-sophomore mentality. We kind of got to grow up as a team pretty quickly.”
Stocks also said the team expected to be more prepared for the year but quickly realized this would not be an easy season.
“I think we just need to get a better mindset as a team,” he said. “I think that we thought it was going to be a little bit easier this year, just being a year older, and it’s actually going to be a lot tougher. A lot of the people [teams] we’re playing now know who we are. I think it was a little bit of a surprise to many that we are going to get everybody’s best every game. So we need to get in the right mindset of preparing ourselves better for each game.”
The men have their next game on March 11 against the Ohio Valley University Fighting Scots. The game will take place at 4 p.m. in Key Stadium.