Men’s lacrosse looks to re-tool with tough schedule ahead

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The Mules have lost two close games to start the 2021 season

After a 0-2 start, the team’s senior stars are confident in their ability to rebound

By Tom Hiller

Contributing Writer

After their 11-10 quadruple overtime loss last Saturday Mar. 27 against Dickinson College, head coach Jake Plunkett reminded his team to focus on the immense grit and toughness the group had already shown throughout the season. The week before, the men’s lacrosse team hosted a nationally ranked game Franklin & Marshall College team. The Diplomats took it in the final moments of the game to squeeze out a narrow 10-8 victory over the Mules. Then, competing against another ranked opponent the following week, and taking them into four overtime periods,a lot of resilience was shown from the team. 

Matt Hager ‘21, talked about Plunkett’s main mission going forward for the team: “for us to be able to find a way to win.”

Even after a 0-2 start to the season, captain Ethan Grossman ‘21 believes that the program has made huge strides within the last few seasons. “In the past years we haven’t been able to compete with F&M and Dickinson and he [Plunkett] is reminding us how talented we are and if we put in the work we will win these close games,” Grossman said. 

Although Grossman has watched the team progress, his demeanor is not one of complacency. “We had a lot of chances to put away that game (Dickinson) and we didn’t capitalize.” 

Fellow captain and attacker, PJ Lombara ‘21 understands that after any game there’s always something to look back upon and improve. “As with any loss I was disappointed and really wanted to win, but quickly reminded myself that there is always room for improvement no matter the outcome.”

The main improvement Lombara is hopeful the team can make is capitalizing on critical situations. “We missed opportunities on man up situations, ground balls, and errant passes that lead to turnovers. These are mistakes that we need to fix and reduce going forward as we look to beat some of the best teams in our conference,” he said. 

To initially look at the team’s roster, many of its upperclassmen seem to lead the charge. However, there has been an immediate influence and impact of several underclassmen. “The underclassmen have played a key role on our team and have been able to fill in… They are an incredibly talented group, and are starting to adjust to the pace of play necessary in our conference,” said Hager. 

Lombara also expressed high praise for the team’s young stars. “Guys like Jack Kraemer ‘23, Max May ‘23, Connor Riebling ‘23, Liam Amoruso ‘23, Wyatt Maliya ‘24 and Matt Regan ‘24 have been stepping up and playing really well. It’s been really gratifying and exciting to be able to help them as well as watch their progression and improvement as players.” 

The next two men’s lacrosse games will be played against both F&M and Dickinson, competing against each school for a second time. “It’s not often that you are afforded the opportunity to take on a conference opponent a second time, and so we can’t wait to compete against them again,” said Hager. 

Although the men are eager for their rematch with Dickinson, the team’s sole focus right now is taking every opportunity to get better and then tie the season series against the Franklin & Marshall Diplomats. 

After the second Dickinson game, the team will travel to McDaniel College and then, to close out conference play, will host Washington College. If the group is able to adjust and improve on the areas of need, then, Hager says, “we can take down some of the powerhouse teams in the conference.”

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