Lacrosse club completes first season
As one of the new arrivals to the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association Lone Star Alliance, the Southeastern Men’s Lacrosse Club are looking to climb the mountain to be competitive with the older, more veteran teams. However, their first season has been a bit bumpy and a learning experience.
“It’s nice to be finishing the first season and getting through all of the stuff of the first season,” said junior attackman and one of the team founders, David DiPiazza Jr. “It was a lot of ups and downs and a lot of stuff to just figure out on our own since it is all student-run. We are 1-6. We won our first game against Stephen F. Austin, but other than that, it has been fun. We have really bonded well as a team. We started with guys that didn’t know each other too well, but now we are all good friends and hang out with each other outside of practice.”
The first win of the season against Stephen F. Austin on Mar. 26 was a milestone for the club and a starting point for possible success the team can have in the future.
“It’s was a hard fought win,” said Head Coach Trey Oaks. “Nothing went our way during the game. But, they pulled through it when it mattered. In overtime, we made a good stop on defense, then went down the field and, on effort alone, sank that last goal. Truthfully, we should have beat that team by five or more goals, but I’m kind of glad that we didn’t. They needed to know how to overcome. That first win needed to be hard. It needed to be something that they had to fight for.”
The biggest concern for the lacrosse team is to have players that are committed to the team and ready to play or learn how to play.
“With a club, it’s hard to kind of keep people in check because we are all just students,” said DiPiazza. “It’s a club so if players don’t want to show up, there isn’t much that we can do about it. We have taken away game time from the players for some of the games and it is probably all that we can do. It’s the end of the season so some players are going to be burned out.”
The lacrosse team has received plenty of support from the other teams of the Lone Star Alliance to keep at it and that they will get better.
“We are kind of the newest team in the Lone Star along with Louisiana Tech,” said DiPiazza. “They would love to get more Louisiana teams growing since they have mostly Texas teams and for more than 10 years all they had was UL and LSU. Teams have been real supportive and they want to see us do well.”
Some players on the team have never played lacrosse before joining this team and have learned a lot from this season.
“I was lucky enough to have played sports all my life,” said senior goalie Jason Licciardi. “So picking up a new sport was not that hard of a challenge. It’s kind of got that baseball and football aspects. The sport has been around a long time. The Native Americans created it before Columbus got here. All I can say to future people is to try. We have a kid and it’s his first year playing sports and he is a starter. You just gotta have heart and you gotta want to play. If you don’t want to play, you won’t pick it up. But if you have the desire then you will pick it up. The time you spend outside of practice is also important.”
Oaks has nominated Licciardi as an outstanding player off of the field this season.
“It’s for things like my academics and my community service which is something that I would not be able to be a part of had I not played lacrosse,” said Licciardi. “It’s a decision that I’m happy I made, and I wouldn’t change it.”
The team will play University of Louisiana at Lafayette this Thursday in Strawberry Stadium. This is their second game in Strawberry Stadium and it means something special to the players to play a game there.
“The way I think of it is that I am a college athlete,” said junior midfielder Chris Bourque. “Even if this is at a club level, I get to tell my kids and my grandkids that I was a college athlete and I played college lacrosse. Even if we don’t pack the stands and even if we do lose, it’s an amazing feeling to say that this is our stadium, this is our house. We get to defend our stadium in front of some family and some friends. It’s thrilling and it is something that I will remember forever, for sure.”
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