The season officially drew to a close for the University of Dallas men’s lacrosse team on Sunday, as they dropped two games in New York to Alfred State and State University of New York (SUNY) at Delhi in the first United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Classic for lacrosse.
It was a weekend the team would soon like to forget, as they fell to Alfred State 1-17 on Saturday only to turn around and get shut out by SUNY Delhi 0-16.
It was a merciful end to a 3-14 season for the lacrosse team in its second year of a potentially lengthy building process. The team was outscored 69-244 by their opponents this season, a differential of 175 goals.
After UD dropped the lacrosse program in the spring of 2014 due to an insufficient amount of players by NCAA standards, the few remaining members banded together to revitalize the team. They went around campus recruiting anyone who had any interest in playing, and were able to piece together a big enough roster to compete this past year. This tactic allowed the program to survive, though it arguably did not result in the most experienced team.
The team has certainly taken its lumps these past two years as it looks to become a winning program in the future, going 5-12 in 2015 followed by this year’s three-win campaign.
The future potential of this program does not make the present much more bearable. The team is not short on hard work, but it hasn’t translated onto the field quite yet.
“We put in a lot of hard work this season but just weren’t able to produce points,” senior KC Pierce said. Pierce’s frustration is understandable. He’s part of a class that went 9-32 in their careers, and had the game they loved taken away from them their sophomore year.
The cupboard isn’t completely empty for Coach Keith Lindgren and the program, however. They had nine freshmen on the roster this season and will lose just four seniors. While those four seniors were important parts of the team, the roster is in a much better place than it was before they cancelled the 2014 season. In 2013, they struggled through seven games with a 12-man roster. The past two seasons, they’ve been able to play 17 games with rosters of 20 and 18 men respectively.
“Although the 2016 season did not yield the record or stats that anyone wanted, there have been major improvements in the team’s mentality, cohesiveness, and the program’s general attitude about what must be accomplished in the following years,” junior captain Jacob Tom said.
Tom also said retaining players on the roster for all four years is a big concern.
“We have come to recognize the lack of commitment within the University of Dallas community to participate in athletics for an extended period of time,” Tom said. But he believes the team is capable of becoming a winning program.
“This starts with good leadership from the upperclassmen to establish habits of commitment to the program,” Tom said. “As well as the younger guys and recruits to buy into those habits.”