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Men’s Lacrosse Seeks to Build off of Last Season’s ECAC Title

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After last year’s unprecedented 10-6 regular season success, the Men’s Lacrosse team began preparations for the postseason with high aspirations for potential championship glory. Following an early exit from the program’s first Centennial Conference tournament at the hands of nationally ranked Gettysburg College, the team rebounded as the #1 seed hosts of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament, finishing off the spring season and school year with a championship victory on Clothier Field. This year the team has even bigger plans. To start, the program hopes that the hard work the players put in during the offseason will propel them to peak form, placing them in a prime position to compete in the Centennial Conference.

“We’re hoping to build on last season’s success. Not only do we want to make Conference playoffs [again], but we want to win once we’re there.” goalie Isaac Kleisle-Murphy ’20 said.

However, the team’s success this year is primarily contingent on replacing the chemistry and starters lost with last year’s senior class, including ECAC tournament MVP Matt Lambros ’16. First, to counter this loss, the team has added an impressive freshmen class of 12, including midfielder Nathaniel “Nat” Johns ’20, midfielder Zander Levitz ’20, and attacker Austin Chang ’20, who, combined, have already recorded 12 points in two games. These additions to the offensive front, coupled with new face-off specialist Andrew Choe ’20, should help the team rebound from last year. Simultaneously, the offensive powerhouse also retains its main cog in attacker Cam Marsh ’18, who not only received First Team All-Centennial Conference honors among other accolades, but also currently leads the team in goals and assists. Similarly, face-off veteran Stephen Ducey ’17 and goalie Cole Fox ’17 add their experience and leadership to an already talented mix.

At the same time, the team understands that talent can only take them so far.

“While we know this is one of the deepest, most talented lacrosse teams Swarthmore has fielded in quite some time, we also know that talent and depth alone do not win games — hard work does,” Kleisle-Murphy conceded.

This hard work all started in the fall season with a rigorous practice regimen, including lifting, practices, video analysis, and a few scrimmages against other local programs. However, the team has noticed that this time together has not only aided the team’s play on the field, but has also brought the team closer together in preparation for the adversity they will undoubtedly face this season.

“Every single guy on the team works hard for the sake of the team … we are all striving to achieve a common goal,” Levitz said.

The Garnet has already seen the early dividends of this effort, as they currently sit 2-0 after hard-fought wins over Albright College and Widener University by the scores of 15-14 and 15-13, respectively. The team hopes to carry this success down to Clearwater, Fla, over spring break, where they will take on Catholic University and Rhodes College. The trip will serve as a test of the team’s resolve moving forward and offer a much needed break, and opportunity for further team bonding.

“Those games should give us some non-conference experience as well as a chance to come even closer together as a team.” Kleisle-Murphy stated.

After the trip, the Garnet will return to the tougher conditions of the North for some Centennial Conference action. Eventually, the team will seek to return to the Centennial Conference tournament, hopefully in an even better position than last year. Nevertheless, even after this season, the future looks bright for the program; there are only four seniors on the roster and the coaches will likely add even more talent from next year’s class. Either way, the program made leaps and bounds in recent years — especially considering last year was the team’s first winning seasons since 2008 — and looks to add to its growing list of successes with more championships this upcoming season.

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