Men’s lacrosse heats up with 6-1 start

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Author: Clark Scally

Men’s lacrosse is making strides toward a momentous season. Their 6-1 record has them on the map in their conference. Currently, the team is a Division II club sport, though it aspires to be a full-fledged NCAA Division II team in the near future.

Supported by the experience of the senior class and bolstered by a significant number of skilled players, the men’s lacrosse team hopes to carry their winning ways through the season and into playoffs for the first time in the seniors’ careers at Occidental.

Team captain Duncan Marks (senior) is proud to be part of a team that has gone from a lackluster 1-9 record his freshman year to a powerhouse team on a 6-1 run. “Really, every player on our team has stepped it up so much that we don’t really have a single standout player, since everyone has been doing their job so well,” he said. “The freshmen class has been absolutely awesome, they’ve brought a lot of experience and enthusiasm that we’ve benefited from.”

The lacrosse team opened up with an intense game against Pepperdine. The winning goal was scored in the final few seconds of the game, resulting in an 11-10 victoryfor the Tigers.  Successive victories included an 8-6 win over UC Irvine and a defeat of Marymount College, an old rival at 23-3. Last Saturday, the Tigers took a dominating victory over Regis. The successful Regis game left many tired Tigers on Sunday afternoon for the game against BIOLA University, and many players could not muster the same zeal that had propelled them to victory the day before. As a result, the Tigers fell 16-3. The main problem was a lack of speed and endurance, and some players simply could not catch up with the faster BIOLA Eagles. “We were definitely two different teams this weekend,” Evan Tolley (first-year) said.

To start the season off on such a strong footing, the class of 2015 has proven to be full of solid players. Danny Stern (first-year) explains the impact his class has had on the team. “As a freshman, I feel like we’re bringing a new direction with the all new additions. As far as the numbers go, we make up a quarter of the team and have some great stats. But the seniors, who started the team still play the big role, and we freshmen come in and fortify them. Right now [the first-years] have three lines of middies, and they all play,” he said. The first-years have been getting regular playing time in games.

“At least two freshmen will get All-Conference, I would hope. And as many seniors as possible will be honored as such,” Marks said. Each player has had their moment to shine and have each chalked up impressive stats. The forward momentum of the team is very promising for the rest of the season.

The team has been frustrated by the lack of recognition it has received at Occidental. “We just want to be taken seriously as a sport team on campus and being recognized as a successful team that represents Oxy well,” Marks said. As a club team, the team does not get as much exposure as the varsity sports – something Marks wishes could change. “The problem is, we can’t go D.III because of Title 9. So we’ll need another women’s team to move up to DIII, which is unlikely. I can only hope that, maybe in the next few years, lacrosse can grow enough for Oxy to move up to D1 Club,” Marks said.

Next weekend, Occidental plays its big game against Cal State Long Beach. With an enrollment of over 38,000 students, the state school draws upon a much larger pool of players. CSU Long Beach is among Occidental’s biggest competition in their league. Defeating CSU Long Beach is very important to Occidental’s seed in the playoffs. The highly contested match will be played at CSU Long Beach’s campus on Saturday.

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