The Taylor men’s lacrosse team plunged into the second half of their season on Wednesday evening in Southfield, Michigan. Currently sitting at 2-6 (0-2 WHAC), the Trojans dropped their first conference game last Saturday to Madonna University 19-7.
The men’s team split their first four games, but are currently on a three game skid that includes losses to Trine, Mount Vernon Nazarene University and the aforementioned Madonna University.
The remainder of the regular season should prove tough, with five of the last eight regular season games being played on the road. Two of the three remaining home games see ranked opponents traveling to Taylor.
“Our conference is very strong this year, but we feel like we can compete with everyone,” senior Teegan Heiniger said. “We have the athleticism to compete with anyone, it’s just whether we back that up with our skill and momentum.”
Heiniger has scored on 35.3% of his shots this season (6 goals/17 shots), good for the second highest shot percentage on the team behind only sophomore Nic Richardson (36%). Statistics are updated through March 30, due to print deadlines.
Half of Heiniger’s goals came in the team’s home opener, the first home game ever played on Wheeler Field’s turf.
“I haven’t put up three goals in a game since like freshman year, so it was really fun,” Heiniger said. “I love playing at home. A lot of Wengatz (guys) and a lot of Sammy (guys) come out and support us and it’s a fun environment. I was feeling good that day, and I had the matchups that I liked … and it went pretty well.”
Heiniger might enjoy home games, but the Trojans are 1-3 at Wheeler Field this season. Their 2021 home record was 1-4. They were 5-3 away from Upland last season, and they currently have a 1-1 road record for 2022.
“I’m pretty confident in our ability to be able to win on the road,” said sophomore Carter Prieditis. “We’re a team that can adjust pretty well to tough circumstances and be able to kind of work through those.”
Prieditis is tied with Richardson and freshman Reid Gerig for the most goals on the team. Each have had nine of their shots find the back of the net this year.
“Nick’s doing a lot of outside shooting which he’s maybe not super accustomed to,” Prieditis said. “We didn’t do a lot of that last year.”
Prieditis says he’s also been attempting more outside shots, and he’s hopeful that the offense will continue to make adjustments in order to give him and others more scoring opportunities.
With the second half of the season underway, the Trojans will look to finish strong. That’s something they weren’t able to do in 2021, as their last eight games included a mixture of both losses and cancellations due to COVID.
“I think (our culture) is what’s going to help our program throughout the years,” Heiniger said. “Guys coming in (and) seeing how much we love each other, how much we enjoy playing with each other, and I think that’s going to be key to our success short term and long term.”