With a 7-1 record this season, the men’s lacrosse team has used the leadership of the seniors and camaraderie of the team to get younger players involved in order to win. The team has won games against several ranked opponents such Seton Hill, Mercyhurst University and Lindenwood University.
These wins, along with a few others, have brought the Hounds to a No. 9 ranking. Head Coach Greg Stocks said the success has been due to the team working together.
“I think everybody’s kind of stepped up their game,” Stocks said. “With it being such a team game, you kind of need everybody pulling their own weight, and they’ve done a fantastic job, as a whole playing as a team and getting the job done.”
The Hounds started off the season by winning against a team that they have not beat in the last three years, the No. 3 ranked Seton Hill. The Hounds were able to pull off a 10-9 overtime upset.
Stocks said that the win was a good way to start the season because it helps the team to get in a good mindset. Senior attacker Parker Kump said beating a higher ranked team has been the highlight of his season.
“That’s a school that we’ve kind of struggled with in all four years I’ve been here,” Kump said. “So beating them in my senior year was my first time beating them. We were 0-3 before that. And so that was a pretty awesome.”
According to Stocks, the team wants to take everything one game at a time and not to look too far into the future. He said the goal for the rest of the season is simple: to win.
“You know, we’re not looking too far ahead,” Stocks said. “Especially at the Division II level, where there’s so much parity and there are so many good teams out there, [we] can’t start looking too far ahead. You have got to keep looking at the game at hand….”
Although Stocks said his focus is on one game at a time, Kump said he has been looking forward into the season. He said the team’s goal is to get a home field advantage for conference, once again, and to keep the momentum that they have built going into the NCAA championships.
Kump said he attributes the team’s success so far to communication of expectations and teammates holding each other accountable.
“So, it’s not to gang up on people, but just keeping you accountable. Keeping that same mission, which is getting a conference ring and then go to NCAA and get a NCAA ring, and doing everything we can on the field by working hard every practice,” Kump said. “Off the field, making sure we’re doing good academics, and the seniors [are] leading the freshmen. But then, the seniors also checking their ego at the door, and if a freshman comes up to us and says something, then we’re not shutting them down. We’re listening as well. So I think it’s just transparent, all having the same goals and working together.”
According to freshman attacker Drew Billig, his personal success is more of a reflection on the team as whole rather than on himself. He said that the leadership of the seniors is one of the things that helped the team progress and do well.
“The seniors brought us freshman in, and right away, we were apart of the team. They made us feel at home right away,” Billig said. “We started having team meetings right away and getting together on the field and off the field. I think that’s a big part of our success so far, cause we just gel really well together as a team.”
The team has only lost one game this season, including close calls against teams like Lincoln Memorial University.
According to Stocks, the team hopes to overcome some inconsistency issues before the GLVC tournament.
“I think our biggest issue probably is consistency,” Stocks said. “We need to play consistently from game to game and even within each game from quarter to quarter, if we kind of shore up our consistency issues will move to even take it another step further.”