Men’s lacrosse fired up for season

Men’s lacrosse seasons have ended prematurely in the ODAC cham- pionship game past five seasons. They are looking to buck the trend this year


Last season’s loss to Christopher Newport University is the only time the Generals have ever lost to CNU. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Alex Niemann

With the season less than a week away, the Washington and Lee men’s lacrosse team is already looking forward toward the one goal it did not achieve last season: its first ODAC title in seven years.

Even with early season games right around the corner, the team has its sights focused on being the best team possible later in the season. For the Generals, this means coming into the first game with passion after an added focus on individual strengthening and improvement during the preseason.

“We lost to [Christopher Newport University] last year, and it was

the opening game,” captain and defenseman Buck Armstrong, ‘16, said. “It’s a game where we really want to make a statement, because it was pretty embarrassing losing last year to this team.”

Armstrong says that the team is using last year’s loss to CNU as a little extra motivation.The team hopes that preseason work and an especially intense practice format will help it make this statement.

“Last year, we had a new coach, [assistant coach Eric Koch], who went here, and he brought in a new philosophy of making practices almost game-like with the intensity. It definitely makes everyone better, makes things more competitive,” Armstrong said.

A more simplified set of goals could also help the team find success this season. In the past, W&L approached the season with a list of goals, sometimes as many as ten different objectives to be accomplished throughout the season. This year, head coach Gene McCabe has his players focused on only two.

“One is to win the ODAC, and the other is to have great team chemistry,” McCabe said.

While winning the ODAC is hardly an unusual goal, the goal of improving team chemistry presents a different kind of challenge.

“In years past, we had a pretty split locker room. We’ve had selfish players and something would happen outside of lacrosse, and

not even to them, but maybe some kind of fraternity incident, and it would carry over to the field and the locker room,” Armstrong said. “This year we’re really trying to get rid of that and just focus on lacrosse, because we came here to play lacrosse, not to be a part of a fraternity. I think that so far, we’ve really been doing well with the team chemistry aspect.”

As far as challenges outside of the practice field are concerned, the team has a clear target this year. Defending ODAC champion, Lynch- burg, was the reason for W&L’s season ending early last year when the Hornets defeated the Generals in the semifinals of the ODAC tournament. The road to an ODAC title is full of challenging opponents, but it ultimately runs through Lynchburg.

“We play one of the toughest schedules in the country at the Di- vision III level, and our conference play in particular, [the ODAC] has a lot of great teams in it, and most notably, Lynchburg College,” McCabe said. “They were the national championship runner up last year, and they’re one of highest ranked teams in the country in the preseason. You gotta mark that one on your calendar.”

The Generals will open this season on the road in a rematch of last season’s opener against rival Christopher Newport on Feb. 11.