For our sixth and seventh games of the season, we played the DePaul Blue Demons (GRLC DII) and the Wabash Little Giants (GRLC DII) both on Saturday, April 6th. It was a beautiful day for lacrosse, and the team came out ready and eager to get some wins. Both games were at home, so that gave us a little extra fire as well. Overall, the day went well for the Trojans, with us winning our first game against DePaul 8-7 and then winning our second game against Wabash 15-4.
The day was beautiful. Weather forecast looked fantastic! The schedule was a unique one; there were three games that were to be played back to back to back on our field. At 11 am, DePaul matched up against Wabash. Coach Chey had encouraged us the day before to come out and watch that game to try and learn a little from our future opponents. I got there a little early on accident because I thought the game started at 10 (oops), but that gave me an opportunity to closely inspect both teams that we were going to face off against. The game got started, and Coach and I were soon joined by several of my teammates. Wabash fought hard, but eventually a strong DePaul team took them down. The final score was 18-1. My team grabbed some food, and then headed to the field to warm up for our first matchup of the day: DePaul University.
Because of our team’s trend of gaining lots of momentum at the beginning of warm-ups and then losing it before the game starts, Coach Chey decided to start warm-ups later than usual to try and keep us on fire for the game. And it worked! A half hour before our game, the Trojans warmed up, got loose, and then hit the field to start the game energized and ready to play some good, hard lacrosse.
Right before the game started, Coach Chey reminded us to stay focused and to maintain discipline. In order to win, we had to play good, smart lacrosse.
Then the game started and we quickly were put into a rough position when DePaul put up two quick goals against us. While we possessed the ball on offense, we just weren’t getting the shots that we wanted. Even when we took shots, we just weren’t converting for goals. The rest of the first half went similarly, with us trailing at halftime by two points.
At halftime, we sat down and Coach talked to us about being mentally tough and dialing in to our game. The offense had to be run correctly, and we needed to get better looks in order for us to overcome our deficit. Recharged and ready to go, a determined Taylor Lacrosse team hit the field on the second half. Right away, things started looking up. We possessed and moved the ball better, we absolutely walled on defense, our clears went according to plan, and everything started clicking. In the end of the third quarter, our team went on a run and scored several goals in a row, putting us up 7-4.
Near the end of the game, DePaul scored some quick goals and almost overcame their deficit, coming within one goal of tying our score. But we were focused and determined, and thanks to some exceptional defensive play at the end of the fourth quarter, we pulled through with the victory.
Soon after the DePaul game and some quick stretching, we got back into things with a strong warm-up and a quick pep talk from Coach. Basically, this game against Wabash was another opportunity to learn and grow, and even though they had lost badly to DePaul, we couldn’t afford to underestimate this team. Everyone focused up and we got back into things with game #2.
Despite running into some trouble with consistently running our offense, we managed to play hard and fast lacrosse, winning the game 15-4. A lot of us newer guys (this is my first year playing lacrosse here) got a lot of playing time and experience, which was extremely valuable to all of us.
At the end of the day, the reason we won both of those games wasn’t the talent that we have on our team or the fact that we played hard. Admittedly, we have both of those things, but those are both things that most teams have on the collegiate level. The reason we won was because we focused, maintained discipline, got way better at running the offense, and played a kind of lacrosse that our team hasn’t played before to that extent. It was a huge indicator of how good our team has the potential to be, and how much growing we have done yet still have to do. We got a glimpse on Saturday of where we could be; we just have to keep working to get there.