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Vigorous preseason to translate into effortless season

by Carson Werner - Sports Editor
Wed, Feb 13th 2019 02:00 pm
The men's lacrosse team celebrates after scoring a goal against Oswego in a match during the 2018 season. This year, the squad looks to push past last year's ending point in the SUNYAC semifinals and capture a long-awaited championship. Since the lacrosse program was introduced at Brockport in 2001, the team has only made it to the finals once. In 2016, the Golden Eagles lost to Cortland in the championship match and finished the season at 12—4.
The men's lacrosse team celebrates after scoring a goal against Oswego in a match during the 2018 season. This year, the squad looks to push past last year's ending point in the SUNYAC semifinals and capture a long-awaited championship. Since the lacrosse program was introduced at Brockport in 2001, the team has only made it to the finals once. In 2016, the Golden Eagles lost to Cortland in the championship match and finished the season at 12—4.

In preparation for a long, grueling and physical season, it’s never too early to get a head start on building up endurance and experiencing actual gameplay. The men’s lacrosse team’s season officially starts at Alfred University on February 27, yet Brockport has already competed in two preseason matches this past weekend. The first game was against the Rochester Institute of Technology’s nationally ranked DIII program and the second was against the DII Roberts Wesleyan Redhawks. 

RIT had finished last season with an overall record of 21—1 with its only loss coming from Wesleyan University in the NCAA semifinals. Over seven members on the team had scored 20 or more goals apiece while Brockport’s two highest scorers tied with 16 each in the 2018 season. Roberts Wesleyan, despite finishing last year at 6—10, is entering the upcoming campaign as a force to be reckoned with because of its experienced roster. Over half of its team is comprised of upperclassmen, while Brockport has four returning seniors and an excess of young faces. The three teams all competed at different levels last year, yet the Golden Eagles entered the Sunday doubleheader as the underdogs.

In hopes that a tough preseason would make for an easy regular season, the men’s lacrosse team was defeated twice, back-to-back. RIT stood as the first challenger for Brockport, acting as a wakeup call for the team following a long winter break. Expectedly, the Tigers dominated the game and would defeat the Golden Eagles 18-4.         

The following game against Roberts Wesleyan had a similar turnout for Brockport as the team lost 16-6. Although neither games turned out in the green and gold’s favor, a preseason match can be used as a base to construct team chemistry rather than provoke discouragement. Sophomore midfielder Max Riley, like several of his teammates, was excited to see such a tough opponent fill the other side of the field.

“We love the fact that we got to play one of the top teams in the nation,” Riley said. “It made us more competitive and aware of how some of the bigger teams play. We want to be at that level and compete for a championship which starts by picking up more and more difficult opponents.”

The RIT lacrosse program has been known for its achievements year after year and has done nothing less than impress any challenger. It’s not uncommon for a team to envy an opponent, especially when it experiences success at an annual rate. Sophomore FOGO (Face Off Get Off) Ethan Stiles hopes that the young Golden Eagles retained a bit of what it’s like to face a high-caliber opponent such as RIT.

“RIT is a national championship contender every year and that’s something we strive to be in the future,” Stiles said. “They move the ball really well and have a solid team all around. So if we have a finished product that resembles RIT going into SUNYAC play, I feel we will have a good chance at making a run into the NCAA tournament.”

Following the matches, the team will surely be focusing on repairing the poor aspects of its game through practices and workouts. A large chunk of effort, between now and the season opener, will go toward the building of communication and chemistry. Knowing where each other are on the field is a key component to any sports game, however, due to the inexperience several players have with one another, it may be difficult for Brockport to become in sync as a team. 

Sophomore attacker Peter Scavone is entering his second year on the team and will be a big contributing factor to this year’s offense. As the season is set to return before the end of February, Scavone, along with his coaches, are looking for players that can benefit him and the other starters’ style of play on the field.

“Our biggest takeaway was giving everyone a run in both games to see who can handle the incredibly fast game and who can’t,” Scavone said. “We are still looking for some starting spots and those two scrimmages gave our coaching staff a good idea about who’s going to start in our season opener against Alfred.”

The young Brockport team is hopeful for the 2019 season and should be content with the skill it has to choose from. Despite finishing last year with a poor record of 5—9, Brockport still made it to the SUNYAC semifinals. If that taste of playoffs wasn’t enough for the Golden Eagles to make a return, then the drive to be comparable with RIT should be enough. 

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