Men’s lacrosse competes and strives for the best

Seton Hill University’s (SHU) men’s lacrosse team started their season off with a jolt of confidence as they beat the top-ten team, Belmont Abbey with a score of 15-14.

By Bethany Merryman

Arts and Entertainment Editor

Seton Hill University’s (SHU) men’s lacrosse team started their season off with a jolt of confidence as they beat the top-ten team, Belmont Abbey with a score of 15-14.

Two weeks after their win over Belmont Abbey, SHU was ranked and recognized in the top-ten poll in their conference for the first time.  “It felt good to know we were finally being recognized, but we want to be better than just number 10,” said Mike Kaplan, a sophomore midfielder. “It was like a really big pat on the back knowing that the work we’ve been doing was worth it,” said Kaplan.

Head coach Brian Novotny also recognized the team’s hard work and improvements and said, “It was very important that the players were getting recognition and that SHU was seen as a threat within the conference.”

Although the team is off to a great start this season, they are faced with an especially demanding schedule this spring.  Sophomore defense, Dave Robbins said, “Our biggest challenge is playing the majority of the nation’s top teams in Division II.”  The team’s remaining schedule includes the top-ten teams of, Mercyhurst College, Dowling College, and New York Institute of Technology.

“A challenge for us this season is our mental approach in both games and practice…Consistency in both aspects are the most important aspects to our season,” said Novotny.

Kaplan has high hopes for the team’s season. “We want to be the best, and we know we can be. We just have to keep focusing and pushing ourselves as we have been,” said Kaplan.

Novotny said that the team has improved greatly in both practice and games.  He said that within their competitive practices, “the players push each other to work harder and win playing time.”

“Overall, the team’s big goal is to be better than last year, get back into the top-ten, and finish with a season record higher than 9-7,” said Novotny. 

Along with their challenging schedule, SHU faces a new rivalry this season.  Ray Lindsay, a junior defensive player said, “Beating Wheeling Jesuit was important because they are our new rival.” SHU lacrosse beat Wheeling on March 21 in overtime 11-10 and will face them again at the very end of their season. 

The new rivalry between SHU and Wheeling came about after Saint Vincent’s lacrosse team refused to add SHU into their schedule.  The rivalry that was meaningful to both the team and fans alike was eliminated from this year’s schedule. “It’s unfortunate, because [Saint Vincent was] always a good game and a great rivalry,” said Novotny.
Players agree that it’s unfortunate they won’t face Saint Vincent’s team this year.  “It’s rather disappointing; they were definitely one of our biggest rivals, and the games were always close and often got pretty scrappy,” said Kaplan.

Robbins said, “Saint Vincent is tired of losing to us.” Although Lindsay “would love to have Saint Vincent on the schedule,” Kaplan explains that they want teams to be worried about playing them because it boosts their confidence. 

Although SHU is starting to put fear into their opponent’s minds, Kaplan said, “We aren’t going to be complacent with where we’re at. We want to be the best.”

As the team strives towards their goals they look forward to their season and the future of SHU lacrosse.