Going into the fall was really exciting for our team! The class of 2017 brought in 5 new recruits this year, and along with the new faces came a new team work ethic. We started out the fall by getting back into shape with 6:00 am runs. This showed us where we were in regards to athletic ability, and also how out of shape we were. After a week or so of hard work, we started to look like a team. For most lacrosse teams, the fall is usually a time for the freshman to get used to college play, and to bond with the team. That is exactly what happened with our recruits because they learned very fast that they needed to step up their game before they could be ready to face a real opponent.
Unfortunately, our team had some difficult moments in our fall season. With the new direction of the team under coach Chey West, the team would be training harder than the program demanded in the years past. That being said, the time commitment would be more, and would be the same as any varsity sport here at Taylor. Some of the returning players couldn’t provide the time and commitment, or they were studying abroad, so we lost some of our upperclassman players. This shocked the program, with the loss of so many seniors last year, and the losses this fall, the team looked a little skimpy.
Even with the losses of these veteran players, Taylor Lacrosse still found a way to survive another season. With the addition of four new walk-on’s, our team stepped up its game and we became a force to contend with. This year’s team consists mostly of freshmen, which means everyone needs to take on a new and challenging roles. The new players really stepped up their game in practices, and adapted to the game very fast. This made our returning players strive to be better. Guys who didn’t play much last year were starting, and some of our D-middies transitioned to play offence.
Because of these changes, the team has been willing to learn new tactical roles. Everyone on the team has an open mind and wants to play the game the way coach Chey wanted them to play. It was only a matter of time before the team started playing like a team.With team offence and a strong deference they wern’t playing as individuals but as a machine, a machine that was ready for any opponent.
On September 28th, this new Taylor team had their first game against Butler. We were tired of playing each other and were ready for a real opponent. The game started at 11:00 am and Taylor played strong. The day was long and hot and for most of the players, Butler was their first game. Everyone fought hard but with a short bench, most of the players were exhausted. It was a hard fought fight and goals from Junior Drew Kuniholm and seniors Jon Moss and Pat Macnider really made the game close. It was a rough game but Butler pulled ahead in the fourth quarter 7-6. It was a good game and everyone learned a lot. Overall it was a good game and everyone got valuable experience.
After the loss against Butler, the team worked really hard on making improvements. They looked ahead to a new target…Ball State. The week before the game, practices were hard and the team made lots of improvements. Tensions rose because they the team got word that they would be playing in the stadium. This was huge for the team because they had never had that kind of exposure. The game in the stadium would be the biggest game for the program.
Saturday October 5th was a big day. Tensions were high as the boys warmed up.The game started off slow. Almost like they had never played together before. Things didn’t click, so they got up 7 goals in the first quarter. They fought back but things were already in motion. But just like in the Butler game, the lack of sufficient numbers killed the Taylor team. Despite the effort Taylor gave, it just wasn’t good enough. Ball State came in with a victory 18-7. Over all it was another good learning experience. Everyone grew and some guys got their first goal. Sophomore A.J. Ablog got his first career goal and walk on Freshman Mitchell Pawlanta scored his first two career goals. Over all it was a good game although it was a rough loss. The Taylor community really came and supported the team. Around 500 people showed up to cheer on the team.
That next week was filled with hard practice and a want to become better. With the final game against the alumni coming up the guys wanted to improve their game. As the week ended the guys started to understand their roles. The team was ready and excited to face off old Taylor players. Players love the alumni game because it is
Taylor past, present and future. Families and friends come to see current students and those who have played in years past duke it out and hash each other. As the game went on the current team couldn’t handle the individual play by the talented alumni. Their individual play dissected the he current team. They would singled out the newer players beat them one on one. The game was fun and both sides had a blast beating eachother up.
As the fall ball came to a close the team ended with their annual halloween practice. This is a time for the boys to relax and have fun during practice in crazy costumes and trick shots. The guys love this time of year because there is no stress and it is a fun distraction from finals coming up.
As the 2013 fall season ended the boys look forward to a strong J-term practice where the team will be working hard in preparation for their spring season. Each one of the players understands what it will take to be the best and they are willing to do what it is need to do to be victorious. They know that the team that’s in first is full of players who put the team first.
With that said here is what Taylor University men’s lacrosse 4 core values are:
Grit– The desire to be relentless both during practice and games.
Integrity– Think, live and play as we are in the presence of the Lord
Loyalty– Taking pride in an unending devotion to the program.
Humility– Recognizing our faults and striving to rid ourselves of entitlement while glorifying the Lord and honoring others.
With this in mind. The team is excited to give you a good show this 2014 season. Be sure you don’t miss a moment.