Scotty Wood Stadium is abundantly utilized in the fall semester, as it is the home of Mules football and the women’s field hockey teams. Scotty Wood is anticipating the return of one of their favorite teams of stick-wielders, the Muhlenberg men’s lacrosse team. 

Having to start their season during the cold winter months, the Mules have to encounter issues that the fall sports teams rarely do: a frozen field. “Right now, the biggest struggle we are facing is our turf conditions. Our new turf was made with an environmentally friendly material as opposed to rubber. There are advantages to this especially in warmer climates, but right now the soil substance under our turf is frozen,” said defenseman Kyle Lando ‘22. The rubble turf field was replaced back in December 2020 with a new coconut and cork infill. 

The only downside to the eco-friendly field seems to be in colder environments when the ground is harder than older astroturf. “We are still able to play, and are making the most of it,” said Lando. “We hope as the temperatures increase the turf conditions will become better.”

Looking back at their previous spring season, the Mules have earned some deserved optimism. Although stumbling out the gates with a 0-3 start, the team successfully won five of their last six games. The only loss during that span came in a double-overtime game, to then 15th ranked Ursinus College. The Mules can cause serious damage in Centennial Conference play heading into this season. 

Muhlenberg’s late-season success in 2021 has not gone unnoticed. Entering the preseason, the men’s lacrosse team received an honorable mention in the DIII United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) national polls.

Lando understands the importance last year had on the team heading into this season. Each signature win proved that the team is building closer to a championship climb. Lando also credits Head Coach Jake Plunket’s motivation. Still, he and his teammates are just as hungry for victory, saying, “Coach Plunkett never fails to motivate us, but as a team, we have a group of guys who are committed to showing up every day to get better. We push each other in practice, and we look forward to getting to finally hit someone else on [Feb.] 12th at our first scrimmages which are home.”

A Centennial Conference championship is in sight for the Mules, however, they must make it through an eight-game span of non-conference games before entering Centennial play. Not only will they not see a familiar face, Washington College, until Mar. 26, but the season opener is against Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), the defending DIII National Champions. Attackman Brett Friedman ‘22 acknowledged the pressure placed on the team with their week one matchup, but he and his teammates are not deterred, “What’s different about this year is that we aren’t only starting off with teams we aren’t familiar with, we’re going right into the deep end and we’re playing the best team in the nation [RIT]. The country will be surprised when we give them a competitive game.”

After the non-conference stretch, many of their conference rivals will most likely still be ranked. The Centennial Conference is loaded with talented teams, looking to receive a playoff bid at the season’s end. “It is nice to have eight or so games to get our legs under us before our in conference games begin, which are the games that matter for making the Centennial Conference playoff,” said Lando, “The top four teams make the [Centennial Conference] playoff, and usually anywhere from 1-3 of our teams get a bid in the NCAA tournament.”

Both Lando and Friedman are playing in their last season as Mules, and they have the same goal written on their whiteboards; winning the Centennial Conference. Lando, continuing, “I cannot put into words what winning the CC would mean to us and all the guys who came before us to build this program from the ground up. Again, our team is at a place where the conference title is now our expectation. As a senior, I have made lifelong friendships through lacrosse and I am going to enjoy each day I have left grinding with the boys. In ten years I am not going to remember individual plays, but the memories of being with my best friends are going to last a lifetime.” 

As for Friedman, he echoes Lando’s sentiments, saying, “A Centennial Conference championship has been a goal of mine since I was recruited, and I think we have a serious shot at hitting that goal. On a personal level, I want to see myself take a leadership position on offense and keeping the energy on a maximum volume throughout the entire season.”

The Mules will first travel to RIT on Feb. 19 to defend their preseason hype.


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