Men’s lacrosse team strives for postseason run

2014-04_02_Lacrosse_Jonathan

Jonathan Garza

Sophomore Mac Maguire attacks sophomore Bryce Arden in a practice at Clark Field. Despite a smaller roster, the Longhorns are 8-3 on the year. 

Mary Margaret Johnson

For this year’s men’s club lacrosse team, the toughest challenge has been dealing with a small roster after several players left the team.

Josh Francis, economics senior and the team’s president, said this year’s recruiting class was one of the largest in a while, but many of the players were unable to perform because of school and work-related priorities.

“Even with the small numbers, the core of the team has remained intact, and we’ve worked really well with what we have,” Francis said.

Because they have such a small team, the Longhorns have to make sure they continue to stay healthy throughout the rest of the season and into playoffs. The team struggled with injuries last year and knows a repeat of that would cause even greater problems for this year’s undermanned team. 

“Our team isn’t necessarily as deep as it has been in the past few years,” said Turner Kerr, senior captain and architectural engineering senior. “But I am more than confident that everything will work out.”

Despite being short-staffed, the Longhorns have been impressive in their quest to defend their 2013 Lone Star Alliance division title. Texas (8-3, 3-0 LSA) already has eight wins on the season and has scored more than 20 points in all three of its divisional contests. 

“Our main objective is just to go out there, have fun and keep winning,” Kerr said.

The team has won the Lone Star Alliance championship in each of the past three years, but each year, Texas was seeded lower than it had expected. This year, the Longhorns scheduled tough non-conference games against ranked opponents in an attempt to improve their seed heading into the national tournament. 

“Right now we’re just focused on getting to the playoffs and winning one game,” Francis said. “Once we move past the first game, I have no doubt we will succeed.”

One benefit of having a smaller roster is that it brings the players closer. The team has been on the road playing two or three games every weekend since Jan. 31. The travel time has given the players a lot of time to bond, which has proven to be beneficial on the field. 

Andy Garrigan, who is in his second year as head coach, said the best part of coaching the team has been observing the maturity level his players have demonstrated. 

“They don’t have to be here,” Garrigan said. “But they all are, every practice, and with that kind of dedication, it really shows they care.”