The men’s lacrosse team has gotten off to a 7-0 start in its inaugural season, and currently sits at 9-2 after breaking open College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin play with an 11-3 win over the University of Dubuque.
As a team in its first season, the Cardinals gained a boost in confidence from the 7-0 start. “It felt awesome,” says Danny Boyle (’19). “It definitely drove us to work harder and be a lot more confident going into conference play.”
First-year programs are usually expected to struggle, but the Cardinals are now held to different expectations.
“We can no longer hold ourselves to a first-year program standard. We expect to be competing in every game we play this year,” says head coach Jason Farrell. “Even in our two losses we played competitively during the entire games.”
Mentally, the team is at a different place than they were before the season started. “There were some nerves (at the start of the season),” says Tanner James (’19). “No one knew what we were going to be like because we haven’t tested ourselves against anybody.”
Their success could be attributed to smart coaching. “Our coaching has helped us prepare for anybody,” says James. “They know what they’re doing and how to set us up for success, all we have to do is execute.”
The coaches have high expectations for the players, which they seem to meet. “We have a lot of confidence in our players and we hold them to high standards,” says Farrell. “Because of that they learn and grow and develop quickly and they trust us quickly. That was the key to having that success right in the beginning.”
Teamwork also helps build a winning team. “I think our success has been attributed to our great teamwork, and how much we’ve developed since the beginning of the season,” says Boyle.
Along with their attitude, their expectations for themselves have shifted. “At the beginning, our goals were just to make conference playoffs,” says Boyle. “After seeing what we could accomplish, there are no limits; we just want to go as far as we can.”
The success is also garnering attention from prospective student-athletes. “In the beginning of the season, recruits hold off because they want to see if you’re legit or not,” says Farrell. “As we started winning, the guys we were recruiting started to verbally commit. Midway through season we started to garner interest from prospective transfer students.”
Their next game is Wednesday, April 19 against Augustana College in Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium at 7 p.m., a game which will have huge playoff implications for both teams and a free T-shirt giveaway at halftime.