Coming off of a fantastic season where they went 4-0 in their division and 14-4 overall, the men’s lacrosse players are coming into the 2013 season hungry for vengeance.
After losing in the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference finals to the Arizona State Sun Devils 10-4, the Panthers come into this season with added energy and drive.
In the past five years, the Panther’s have had incredible success, putting together an impressive 75-16 overall record. Yet the Panthers aren’t just a solid regular season team, having made it to the National Championship game in 2008 and 2009 and advancing to the Semifinals in 2010.
Three All-American seniors – Matt Walrath, Justin Shields and Andrew Clayton – graduated last year.
“This is an opportunity because it opens starting positions for other players to work hard for,” said senior captain Henry Knowles. “All the guys see their chances to start and it makes for good competition.”
Head Coach Dallas Hartley isn’t setting low expectations for this team. A year after losing to Brigham Young in the quarterfinals of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association National Championships, Hartley sees no reason the Panthers can’t match their success, or even surpass it.
“Our expectations are the same as always,” he said. “Our eyes are on the league championship and then the national tournament.”
With such high expectations and history, the Panthers will rely heavily on the advice and direction of both Hartley and their senior captains. After finishing up the fall lacrosse league, Knowles already sees the possibility for success.
“We have well established potential and the skill set is definitely present,” he said. “A key will be developing our sense of chemistry on and off the field.”
Since lacrosse is a club sport, the university’s move to the SCIAC conference will not significantly change its schedule or travel.