This past week, the University of Dallas men’s lacrosse team won its season opener against Dallas Baptist University (DBU).
The team travelled 20 minutes away from campus with a small group of fans who braved the cold weather to cheer them on. In the first four minutes after the draw, senior attacker Matt Cyr scored the opening goal of the season, followed by freshman midfielder Peter Early’s first career goal eight minutes later. By the end of the first half, the score was an even 3-3.
The tie was broken by six goals in the third quarter for the Crusaders, as the latest round of recruits displayed the team’s new talent. Freshman attacker Ryan Thie scored three goals, junior defender Wells Waller scored an impressive first goal for Dallas, and freshman attacker Ben Blessard added two more goals. The Crusaders took home a victory of 11-6, despite missing three starting players on the field.
While the Crusaders demonstrated a lot of individual talent during the game against DBU, they also acknowledged some room for improvement in working together as a team.
“It’s still a young team,” junior long stick midfielder Nicholas Baeza said. “But if we can put it all together … watch out.”
Unfortunately, the Crusaders were not able to put it all together in their second game of the season here in Irving, losing to the Ottawa University Braves of Kansas with a final score of 4-18.
The Braves dominated early, leading with a 13-point run which ended when Early scored his dramatic second goal of the season in the last 13 seconds of the half. The goal was followed by freshman attacker Carlo Monacelli scoring his first two career goals within three minutes of each other.
Despite the team’s struggles, senior midfielder Alex Ziolkowski played an outstanding game. He won 14 out of 22 faceoff opportunities, only one draw away from tying his career best. He also picked up 11 ground balls — more than any other individual player — had eight shots and eventually scored the last goal for the Crusaders.
Despite the disappointing final score, Head Coach Keith Lindgren remains confident in the team.
“The program is on an upslope,” Lindgren said. “We have had some exceptional talent arrive this season … We are looking to the future and know that we are headed in the right direction.”
The team is optimistic and focused for their upcoming season.
As Early summed it up, “We just didn’t show up mentally, but this game is in the past and we need to focus on the next game.”
The team continues its 10 home games next week, welcoming Huntingdon College from Alabama and Rhodes College from Tennessee.