North Texas Daily

Despite challenges, UNT club lacrosse team determined to find success

Despite challenges, UNT club lacrosse team determined to find success

February 13
16:00 2017

Going on 20 years without a championship, quitting would have been the easy way out for a team that has only made the playoffs eight times in their history.

But quitting is not the nature of lacrosse players.

Despite not having a head coach and only reaching the playoffs twice in the past five years, the UNT men’s lacrosse team seems to be hitting its stride. After losing their first two games of the season, the team bounced back, defeating Trinity and the University of Texas at San Antonio this weekend to bring their record to 2-2.

“We came into this weekend and were much looser than in previous games,” junior club president Jason Felts said. “We were moving the play well and were playing as a team which so far has been one of our biggest struggles.”

Finding team chemistry has been something the club has worked on all season. With almost the same number of veterans as new players, meshing on the field has not been the easiest task. Ecology senior Joshua Fuller attributes some of the struggles to their losses on opening weekend.

“We have a lot of guys that are fresh out of high school and I think University of Texas at Austin and St. Edwards was a wake-up call,” Fuller said. “We also were shedding the rust off from Christmas break, still trying to find ourselves as a team and who fits in what situation. I think we are going to keep getting better as we grow because we aren’t the type to quit.”

But one of the biggest strains lies on the sidelines.

While it is not uncommon for club sports at UNT to be without a head coach, it is uncommon for a lacrosse team to be without one.

“For lacrosse programs to not have a head coach is strange,” Fuller said. “We’ve had a head coach the last three years and are still searching, but it does not affect morale. We have a great group of guys who come out here every day and work hard.

Although the team lacks a head coach, the team is not without a leader.

Marketing senior John Hill has taken on the challenge of being the team’s de-facto head coach — just not in the way he expected. During the first preseason game against Dallas Baptist University, Hill went down early in the game and never got back up.

He completely tore the ACL in his left leg, and in an instant, his senior year was over.

“Getting a career ending injury was probably the most difficult thing I have ever had to go through,” Hill said. “I then had to go from a team captain and senior starter to a more authoritative role which was challenging for not only myself, [but] for the team, too.”

Even with obstacles in their way, the team has done just like it does on the field when they’re scored on: transition and move on. After 20 years of building a program that is on the rise, they are determined to not let playoff appearances and lack of a head coach stop them.

The team has one more weekend of non-divisional games before getting to the meat of their schedule.

With a two-game winning streak under their belts, Hill believes the team has the momentum to build on in the coming weeks to hopefully bring home that elusive title.

“I feel optimistic towards the rest of the season, I always have,” Hill said. “I feel like if we can keep the mental mistakes off the field and continue to work as a team then there is not a team out there that we cannot hang with.”

Featured Image: Courtesy. Will Campbell

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Samantha Morrow

Samantha Morrow

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