Lacrosse team seeks success through grueling schedule

Courtesy Photo / Danielle Roma
Sophomore Josh Walters during a Lacrosse game held this past October on the turf field

Courtesy Photo / Danielle Roma Sophomore Josh Walters during a Lacrosse game held this past October on the turf field

Jon Adamy

While other teams may cringe at the thought of a regular season that includes playing in one of the toughest conferences in the nation and competing against the defending national champions, the Grand Valley State University men’s lacrosse team welcomes the challenge.

The men’s lacrosse team will face off against the University of St. Thomas, the defending back-to-back Division II MCLA Champions during their upcoming season, a game the players and coaches are glad to have on their schedule.

Junior Daniel MacDonell said he is most looking forward to games against the defending national champions from St. Thomas and the cross-town rivalry game against Davenport University on Feb. 17.

“To be the best, you’ve got to play the best, and we definitely have on our schedule some of the best teams in the nation,” MacDonell said. “These are the two teams for the past few years that we’ve fought back and forth against. These are the games on our schedule that are circled in bright red.”

First-year GVSU head coach Tim Murray said competing against top-level teams will force his squad to consistently play at a high level. Murray takes over a tight-knit team looking to avenge a few key close losses from last season and to make a name for itself on a national stage by competing against challenging teams.

“We really wanted to make a point to challenge ourselves and kind of prove ourselves against the best competition the nation has to offer,” Murray said. “One of the things we’re trying to instill is – whether it be practice, a scrimmage, a game, whatever the case is – we need to make sure that we’re playing as well as we possibly can. I think that putting together the schedule that we have is really conducive to that message.”

Murray said he already feels like the team is a family. Team chemistry gives activities a fun, competitive atmosphere.

Senior Max Bielby, who was on the committee that hired Murray, feels he is the right person to help guide the team to further success.

“We had some really good candidates come in and interview for the job, but [Murray] definitely stood out as a guy that had his game plan of what he wanted to do for our team in every aspect of our program,” Bielby said. “Being a club, the coach has to be involved with fundraising, recruiting when he can and all these different aspects. He had a game plan for all those areas with our team, and those are nice, but the biggest thing that he had is a passion for the sport and the players that play the game.”

The Lakers will host a scrimmage against Trine University at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The regular season kicks off on at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 against Murray’s alma mater Butler University.

Bielby said those who have not seen a lacrosse game at Grand Valley are missing out on a unique sport.

“It’s a fast paced game, a lot like you see in hockey, but the scoring is way more frequent,” he said. “You get a little bit of everything. You get guys that can dance and make stuff look pretty, and you got guys that run around and just knock each other’s heads off.”

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