Lacrosse shoots for conference championship

Senior Aidan Moulton looks to get past an opponent from St.Joseph’s of Maine. NU Athletics Photo

The Norwich University men’s lacrosse team is looking to keep the same goals they’ve had over the last three seasons, which is striving to ultimately win a championship.

After a strong season last year, in which the team had a record of 13-6, the Cadet lacrosse team hopes to carry on the high expectations from last season and capture the GNAC title.

In the process of trying to win a championship, the team also wants to focus on executing at a high level and developing young talent that head coach Neal Anderson has been able to recruit.

“Last year the team struggled with playing four quarters of lacrosse, and putting together a complete game,” said senior midfielder Will Conroy of Dorchester, Mass.

This was seen in this year’s 10-9 loss against the University Southern Maine but Conroy remains optimistic. “Our focus now is to execute on technique for an entire game,” he said.

The team is off to a good start in conference play standings at 3-1, and is 5-4 on the season.

Aside from lacrosse this year’s team is eager to be more involved in the community and to continue building the CADLAX image. “Junior Brandon Milburn has done a great job so far in organizing team community events, specifically with the veterans home here in Northfield,” Conroy said.

Leadership is another important aspect of this season. With experienced senior captains in midfielder Cody Moore and defenseman Jake Gianelli, Conroy expects standards on and off the field to be high. “Their leadership by example style has set the precedent for the rest of our upperclassman on how to conduct ourselves,” he said, adding that he hopes “our professionalism and leadership will ultimately lead us back to a GNAC championship.”

“Leadership is a critical aspect, lacrosse is a very mental sport, making sure we all keep our heads even,” explained junior defensive midfielder Thomas DeMag of Burlington, Vt.

This year’s team wants to define itself and its identity both on and off the field to achieve their full potential. DeMag sees a path to success. “Making sure we make the right adjustments throughout the season to ensure we are getting the most out of our guys to create a winning environment is key,” said DeMag.

One of the toughest opponents this year comes from conference foe Johnson and Wales University. “We lost to JWU last year in the GNAC championship, so they’re definitely a factor,” DeMag stated.

Having defeated the JWU Wildcats over spring break by 15-9 has had a noticeable impact on the Cadets. The team seems to have gained confidence, but they are still looking forward to facing other strong competition in the conference. “Lasell college seems to be the biggest challenge we face this year, but if we play our game right, we are all confident in beating them as well,” said DeMag.

In order to win the conference, the team has to play smart lacrosse all-around while maintaining energy on offense and defense for the entirety of the game. “We look to score at least eight goals per game, and keep the opposing team to no more than eight goals per game,” DeMag explained. “If we can play consistently and stay healthy, these simple tasks should do it for us.”

“We intend on winning a conference championship, and seeing what we can do in the national tournament. With that being said, we are focused on playing it one game at a time,” DeMag said.

According to sophomore midfielder Kevin Horchak of Mullica Hill, N.J., everyone on the team needs to work on their game on their own as well as with the team if they are to win the conference this year. “Coach wants us to buy into the idea of that when we attack small things in our day-to-day lives, greater accolades will come,” he said.

Horchak says the whole team is set on the goal of the GNAC championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament and has trained hard to achieve that. “We pride ourselves in being one of the most fit teams in the conference, but it’s beyond important we stay in shape year-round.”

Senior goalie Ian Kriger of Burlington, Mass., added that “we stress being blue collar and hardworking, yet smart and precise with our actions.”

According to Kriger, the team has set out this season to “continue to build an excellent culture, inspire and influence all members of the team to play and behave to the best of their abilities, and to win the GNAC Championship.”

While leadership is seen as key, Kriger explained it does not need to come only from the top down. “Our leaders are obviously the captains; however, leaders do not necessarily have to be the upperclassmen,” he explained. “We are a very open and accepting group of individuals and if someone feels the need to lead either a conversation or a play on the field, they are actually encouraged to do so.”

This helps add to group cohesion and an effort to play at an elite level on the field, Kriger stated. “Our toughest opponents are ourselves. If we can trust in our systems, our teammates, and ourselves, then lacrosse will become easy and effortless over time,” he suggested.

“This year’s team wants nothing more than to play at an elite level and to leave the program better than we left it.” Kriger said. “We have to push ourselves past our individual limits, which in turn will help us get back to the championship.”

With the team’s most recent victory over Albertus Magnus, they advance to a record of 4-3, with an undefeated 2-0 record in the conference.

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