The Wheaton Men’s Lacrosse team remains ambitious for the 2015 season after a disappointing 2014 campaign that ended with a 5-9 record. Several upperclassmen players have expressed how they believe that last year’s lowerclassmen will only learn, improve and build off of the results from the previous year. Room for improvement is an understatement to many of the returning players, really stressing how hungry they are to win games this current season. The disappointment has fueled an intense offseason for men’s lacrosse, as they are out to prove their worth in the NEWMAC conference.
Kyle Neale ’17, sophomore defensive midfielder, has advocated for the talent of the young players of this team and understands that they must improve to make a name for themselves in Division III Lacrosse. “We showed flashes of what we are capable of last year,” said Neale. “Even though we grew exponentially as players, I still was disappointed on how we ended up last season.”
In the offseason, Coach Lockard and Coach Colombini brought in a stellar group of freshmen and have added even more talented young players to the team to really stir up position battling. After returning three of the top four point leaders in Ryan Gjerset ’17, Will Morrison ’17, and senior captain Matthew Hillman ’15, the offense is looking dangerous with the addition of freshman Scott Whear ’18, who has showed great finishing ability in the preseason.
The defense is led by returning pole Christopher Laudenbach ’17, who provides a solid backbone for the defense. Fellow Duxbury native and freshman Victor Motinho ’18, as well as freshman defenseman James Holston ’18, have also been playing exceptionally well thus far. Behind them, anchoring the crease, is returning junior Ryan Clair ’16, who won over the spot after splitting time last season.
“Matt Fillardo, Kyle Neale, and Casey Buchholz lead the defensive midfield and are all looking extremely ready for the season, even though we have competition at every position and no position is safe,” said sophomore Ryan Gjerset. “We are young, but without a doubt improving and ready to take our game to the next level. Having competition on all ends really makes everyone better and it creates an awesome environment to play in.”
The Lyons intend to make a run for the NEWMAC and giving conference rivals Babson College and Springfield College a run for their money. Last weekend, the Lyons scrimmaged Johnson & Wales and Southern Maine and came out victorious in both games. “It was a nice start to the year, but there are improvements to be made,” said Neale.
Wheaton defeated Johnson & Wales 10-6 and Southern Maine 9-5 to end an undefeated play-date in Providence. “We really gelled as a team despite having only five practices outside,” said Gjerset. “The games helped us get to know where we stand as a team and how well we can play together.”
The Men’s Lacrosse team officially began their regular season this past Saturday against the University of New England at home on the Diane C. Nordin ’80 Turf Field, which ended in a 12-11 loss. Despite the loss, the team remains to have a strong and improving mindset. With conference play beginning on March 28 against Clark University, there is still much work to be done for the Lyons and they’ll surely do whatever it takes in order to win games.