Men's lacrosse wraps up tough season
Inexperience and lack of depth trigger team's woes
Published: Thursday, April 21, 2011
Updated: Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:04
The men's lacrosse team had a difficult time putting together a memorable season with a record of 5-8.
With 28 players on the roster, the team is undersized. Adding to this dilemma is the fact that only one starting senior and 18 players new to the game comprise over half of the team. To put it in perspective, junior Matt Baker explained that the University of Oregon had over 250 players try out and kept 100. This enables the Ducks to have a practice team, while also having flexibility during games.
Santa Clara plays year round, with practice four times a week to get up to par. Given that Bellomy Field is a grass field, weather impacted numerous practices.
"It may not seem that we improved by our record, but it has been an improvement," said Baker. "Last year we had a lot of guys quit near the end of the season. The big group of freshmen this year really wants to change the mentality of the team and make it better. We are building for the future."
Baker explained that this year the team focused on conditioning. In addition Co-Head Coach Gary Podesta stated that the team learned a new system of play this year, which took time to grasp and implement. Eventually, the Broncos began to execute this style of play effectively.
The Broncos play in the Western Conference Lacrosse League (WCLL) where they come up against opponents that include Cal Poly, Cal and Stanford. With seven teams in the league, four are granted automatic bids to the playoffs. At the beginning of the season, Santa Clara was optimistic about their chances of being in the top four.
A strong work ethic eventually transferred onto the field, when the Broncos were ranked No. 19 in the Men's Club Lacrosse Association. Unfortunately, after peaking Santa Clara hit an eight game losing streak, shooting them right out of being a contender for the post-season.
"The biggest obstacle for us to overcome was our seven game losing streak," said Baker. "After 5 or 6 losses it was like why try? After that it was really important for us to come out and get a win and show that we are still trying even though it may not affect much."
Podesta added, "I think we have done well this season. I am sure their expectations were a little higher, but we are a young team that is learning to put it together. I think we did okay with the schedule we had. We had a lot of close games with a very difficult season."
Podesta explained that after the seven game losing streak the coaches and team tried to mix up the style of play and allow the players to have some fun. They changed the structure of practice, which paid off especially in the final two weeks.
"We are trying to upgrade the team in general,'' said Podesta. "We have been in the 20-30 range of 105 teams in our division. The only way we will get better is by playing harder teams that we really have to push ourselves for. We only lose four kids to graduation so what we have done this season will pay dividends in the future."
Santa Clara's final game will be against Sonoma State.
"There are a lot of teams that are in our situation," said Podesta. "Our guys have not packed in the season and quit and I am very proud of them for that. This will bode well for us next year."
Contact Gina Massetani at email@example.com or (408) 551-1918.