Men’s lacrosse team looks to make a comeback after losses in conference, NCAA tournaments last year

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The University of Indianapolis men’s lacrosse team started their season on Feb. 4 by defeating Lake Erie University 21-10, according to UIndy Athletics. Last season, the team made it to the NCAA tournament but fell short to Lenoir-Rhyne University. Senior attacker Drew Billig said that the team learned a lot from losing early in the tournament last year, but hopes to build off of the experience. 

“Last year we got to learn a lot [about ourselves]…” Billig said. “Getting knocked out sucks, so we [have] a sour taste in our mouth and we can build off of that going into playoffs this year.”

According to UIndy Athletics, the team was ranked eighth in the initial United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) poll. Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Greg Stocks said that a top-ten ranking has become an expectation for the program. 

“It’s kind of been our expectation,” Stocks said. “We’ve been in the top ten for the last few years now… it’s something that’s now expected and it’s something that we really pride ourselves upon.”

Billig said that the preseason ranking is a cool recognition, but that it also puts a target on their backs. Billig and Stocks said that one of the team’s primary goals for the season is to win the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship along with making a run in the NCAA tournament.

“Looking back to last year, we got a lot of the same guys back, so we [have] a lot of chemistry already,” Billig said. “We’ve got a lot of experience mixed with some youth as well, so I’m looking to hopefully win our conference and make a run into the NCAA tournament.”

Stocks said the team is experienced and that their practices are really competitive. He said that the high level of competition at practice will better prepare the players for the competition they will see throughout their season. 

“The practices are really competitive. So, it’s something that does a good job preparing us for the games,” Stocks said. “Since we compete so hard at practices and really get after each other, when it gets to game time there’s no surprises. I think sometimes our practices may be harder than the actual games.”

Billig said that the team is a very close-knit group and that his teammates are a major factor in his success at UIndy. According to UIndy Athletics, Billig is currently tied for the most points over a career in program history, as of The Reflector press time. 

“It’s a lot of hard work,” Billig said. “It’s pretty cool, but I mean obviously a lot of the contributing factors are my teammates.”

Billig said that another reason for his success at UIndy is the older players that he played with his freshman year showed him how to be successful and a leader for this team.

“Individually, I got named captain, so my big thing is trying to be more vocal on the team,” Billig said. “[I want to] lead a lot of the younger guys, and then even some of the juniors and seniors as well.”

According to UIndy Athletics, the team’s next home game will be their senior day on April 1 against Davenport University. Stocks said that he hopes there will be lots of support for the team at their home games this season. 

“We’ve got some big games coming up, and I think it’s really exciting to be where we are right now and any support for home games, stuff like that, would be greatly appreciated,” Stocks said.

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