Jacob Kittipol | Echo
With three games to go in the regular season, the men's lacrosse team has made a valiant effort to finish strong. The men's team received NAIA votes in the Top-10 poll on April 9, one of sixteen teams to receive attention in the national ratings. However at 5‒4 on the season overall and in a recent 20‒11 defeat to Lawrence Technological University at home, there is still more room for improvement before the team tries to fight its way into playoff contention.
"We started slow," Head Coach Brad Bowser said regarding the game against Lawrence. "In the second half we played pretty well, but it was just too little too late."
In their first season of being realized as a varsity sport at Taylor, the team itself isn't comprised entirely of lacrosse-centric players. The game of lacrosse can have a high learning curve, and as highlighted earlier on in the season many of the players who come from other athletic disciplines are still trying to grasp the sport.
The 1‒4 conference record, however, doesn't exactly reflect the shortcomings of individuals players on the field, so much as a lack of player depth on the bench and in the locker room.
"We don't have a lot of depth as a young team,but we've gotten better every single week, and as long as you're doing that, you can't really beat yourself up over a loss," senior Jeff Kaczmarek said.
The team has fought hard in practice and on the field to grip the fundamentals and to adjust their game play mechanics as a whole. Whether fighting for ground balls (267 on the season) or perfecting operations on the offensive end, where brothers Grant and Tyler Gerig (sophomore and senior) both combine for an average of 8.4 goals per outing, the team has fought to remain relevant in a competitive conference.
The next few games will be a tough test for the team, with two of the games against ranked opponents such as number nine Siena Heights and number three Indiana Institute of Technology.
"They're definitely beatable teams," junior Nathan Sahly said. "You have to beat them at their own game. I think we have the talent and the caliber of players to compete with those teams already, which is great. Just to have a couple more of these guys like the Gerig brothers or (Kaczmarek) has really helped us to build somewhat of a winning culture."
Among the team's more notable strengths are that of their 32.5 percent shooting and 47.5 percent on goals saved. To this, Bowser and his players are optimistic that provided fundamentals and team organization improves, much more is yet to come of the men's lacrosse team.
"Right now it's not what we want on the win-loss column," Bowser said, "but we're getting to play really good teams, and understand what it's like to play good lacrosse. The expectations have been high and they love it, that's what the team wants."
The team's last home games will be on April 13 against Siena Heights University and on April 20 against Concordia University.