Leadership and chemistry propel lacrosse in ODACs

After being picked to finish third in the preseason, the men’s lacrosse team is a win away from its first ODAC title since 2009


Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Caroline Blackmon

Team chemistry has led the Washington and Lee University men’s lacrosse team through this season and on to the ODAC championship game.

After easily handling rival Hampton-Sydney 14-6 in the conference semi-finals, the Generals will now face the defending ODAC champions, Lynchburg College.

“We found that we couldn’t put ourselves in the best position possible without team chemistry,” Head Coach Gene McCabe said. “On and off the field, and in the locker room, they’ve worked really hard to develop and strengthen the relationships that go along with being part of a team.”

As for the six senior captains specifically, McCabe said that what they have brought to the team as a collective unit has been exemplary.

“You can tell [the group is comprised of] a bunch of guys who really respect each other and get along,” McCabe said. “And they spend time off the field talking about issues that the team is facing.”

Captain Graeme Weaver, ‘16, said that the group of seniors and captains have formed the team’s foundation.

“When we all work toward our goals, it sets the standard for the team and forges an attitude throughout the season,” he said.

Before finding out that they were facing Hampden-Sydney on May 7 in the semi-finals, the team focused on general ways in which to improve their game, Captain Will Douthat, ‘16, said.

This included focusing on both defending and scoring in transition in unsettled situations, McCabe said.

After losing to Roanoke on April 23, the team wanted to be sure to put on two good performances and finish the season strong. They won both of their next two games by double digit margins.

“Randolph College and Randolph-Macon College aren’t traditionally the toughest opponents and it would’ve been easy for us to take them lightly,” goalie Wyatt Devine ‘16 said. “But we put the pedal to the metal and put ourselves in a good position for ODACs.”

McCabe was proud of the team for finishing the season with momentum going into the ODAC tournament.

“We focused on playing as hard as we could and playing as well as we could together,” he said. “Rather than worrying about our opponent and how good they are, we focused on what we needed to do and I was really proud of the way the guys did that in the final games.”

Douthat said that the wins helped with the team’s confidence.

“But, we can’t get complacent with those wins,” he said. “We have to try and get better every single day.”

Overwhelmingly, the Generals attribute their success this season on the closeness and unity of the team.

“Our team chemistry is really something special. Everyone is really cohesive and we work together so well,” Devine said. “And with the way social structure works at this school, the fraternities can get in the way and this year it hasn’t happened at all.”

Douthat agreed and said that it was the job of the upperclassmen during pre-season to include the freshmen and sophomores.

“Everybody’s really close which helps out in games and practice,” Douthat said. “Just to know that you’ve got each other’s backs is really important.”