The Muhlenberg women’s and men’s lacrosse teams had very similar and successful 2023 spring seasons, dually clinching spots in the Centennial Conference (CC) playoffs and both earning 11-6 overall records. The men’s team made program history, earning a playoff spot in back-to-back seasons for the first time, and the women’s team set new standards after competing in the CC playoffs for the first time since 2017. Both teams recently wrapped up their fall ball seasons and are carrying their momentum forward in preparation for exciting spring competition.
On Sunday, Oct. 15, the Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team ended their fall ball season with a scrimmage against the 2023 Landmark Conference champions, Scranton University, who lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament last spring. Although the competitive matchup resulted in a 12-11 loss, the one-goal differential was indicative of natural team chemistry, some very exciting new talent, and a very competitive upcoming season.
Elisabeth Loiselle ‘24 elaborated, “Fall ball looked different for our team this year, with nine juniors being abroad in Florence and having graduated seven seniors. Given the number of veteran players who were absent and welcoming ten first-years to the roster, we really focused on developing our team chemistry and camaraderie on the field. This grew astronomically over our six weeks of fall ball. The small nature of our fall ball team allowed players from multiple grades to set up in their roles and really emerge as players. We all had to develop a deep sense of trust in each other very quickly to start playing as a team and achieve our goal of a successful fall scrimmage. Growing so much closer on the field ultimately translated to us having stronger relationships with each other off the field.”
Hopeful that their camaraderie will continue to grow, Nicole Steiner ‘24 talked about the program’s goals moving forward into 2024. “We had a very successful fall season bringing our freshmen into the program. Given all of our juniors are doing a current semester abroad, it allowed the younger players to get more practice time and experience on the field. It is a really exciting time for Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse. Last year we made the Centennial Conference tournament for the first time in five years and lost a close game to Haverford. This year our goal is not just to make the tournament, but to win games and advance further.”
The women’s team is setting a new standard and is looking to make program history by advancing past the first round of conference playoffs this spring; if their current culture and outlook are any indication of their future success, the odds are very high they will do just that.
Loiselle noted, “With this season being my last and having now completed my final fall ball, you realize that the most important thing to walk away with is the bond you hold with your teammates and I am so grateful to be a part of an organization that emphasizes and embraces that. It puts us in a very strong position as we prepare for Feb. 1, so I am eager to see what’s to come for women’s lacrosse.”
On Sunday, Oct. 22, the men’s team traveled to Bridgewater, N.J., to participate in the Schambach Classic Tournament and to end their fall ball season on a high note. They competed against Montclair State University and Georgian Court University, winning both scrimmages. Similar to the women’s team, the men’s team was reliant on a strong development of team culture and hard work with almost their entire junior class studying abroad, and therefore absent on the fall roster.
Ryan May ‘24 summarized their off-season experience, “Our fall season went well. Although we were a young team having only one junior and nine seniors, the freshmen and sophomores stepped up and played a big role in winning both of our fall scrimmages. Our underclassmen got valuable game experience which will help them when we start spring play. We will only improve more after getting valuable players back from injury and our junior class back from studying abroad. In terms of the season, the goal remains the same as it is every year– to win the conference. Although we lost a big group of seniors last year, we feel that we have a lot of people who know what it takes to win and who understand the required work that goes into doing so.”
With such a young roster this fall, their success speaks volumes. The entire team seems to have a similar mindset moving forward. When Matthew Regan ‘24 was asked about the program’s goals for the spring, he replied, “The goal for the upcoming season is simple. It’s to win the Centennial Championship.”
Regan continued, “Despite falling short in recent years, it’s our responsibility to learn from that and finish the job. The fall ball season proved to our team that we’re serious contenders for winning it all this year. Alongside the return of key players who were abroad during fall, we’re poised to enter springtime with a highly successful and competitive mindset.”
The men’s program is ready to make history and has been building its momentum for years now.
Both programs are more than prepared to kick start their 2024 spring seasons with strong momentum.