North Texas Daily

Lacrosse team pursues playoffs as 2018 season unfolds

Lacrosse team pursues playoffs as 2018 season unfolds

March 11
17:03 2018

Coming off of a 6-8 season where they failed to make the playoffs and were without a coach, the North Texas men’s club lacrosse team is ready to improve in their 2018 campaign.

With the addition of a new coaching staff, the team is ready to put last year’s blunder behind them as they started their 2018 season with a record of 2-4 with growing hopes of making the playoffs.

“I think we brought in two really good coaches who are really committed to our program, so I’m very happy about that,” senior club president and attacker Jason Felts said.

Coming to North Texas, head coach Aaron Skiles knew changes had to be made to the program in order to become playoff contenders. This started with the team’s chemistry and overall attitude when on the field together.  

“This is not just an after school activity,” Skiles said. “This is a competitive sport that was created by Native Americans. It’s a sport of warriors, so the attitude coming into the game needs to reflect that.”

Along with a new attitude, Skiles and the club’s executive board hope to continue growing the team’s roster.

“We went from 19 players last year to 25 players this year,” Felts said. “We know we have talented lacrosse players [at UNT]. There are 40,000 people that go to this school. There are at least 30 guys that can play lacrosse.”

But in order to see growth within the team, there is a need for an increase in awareness across campus. It is a problem the coaches, executive board and the players have struggled with in the past, and it still comes up often.

“I’ve had people ask me, ‘Wait we have a lacrosse team?’ when I tell them I have a lacrosse game coming up,” junior midfielder Joe Cox said. “Lacrosse is an exciting sport. We could always use more fans coming out to games.”

Lacrosse, being a club team, does not always receive as much attention from students on campus as other sports in the athletics program. The sport itself, however, is beginning to increase in popularity and awareness around the nation.

“Lacrosse kind of brands itself as the fastest growing sport in the country, especially in Texas and the DFW [area],” Felts said. “I didn’t know it even was a sport until I was in sixth grade, but now you have kids starting out as first graders which is great.”

Fans are crucial to the players success and team morale throughout the season. For most club sports, though, people do not usually show up in masses the way they do North Texas athletics teams.

It has been something the team has overcome in the past, but that will not stop them from trying to raise awareness whenever they can.

“Because lacrosse is such a social sport, the transfer and the level of energy is very important,” Skiles said. “Getting more fans out there is super important for our performance.”

The team is a Division I team in the Lone Star Alliance league where they face teams like Texas Christian University, the University of Oklahoma and Southern Methodist University.

Although their season is off to a slower start than they might have hoped, the team believes they now have the talent and the resources needed to make a playoff run as the season wears on.

“This has been the most talented team I’ve ever played for, hands down,” Felts said. “I think we gained a lot of really good, talented players, so my goal is to at least make the playoffs and hopefully make a decent run at the conference championship.”

Despite starting the season with tough losses with new players and coaches, the team is aware of their potential, and their expectations rise with every game, win or lose.

On Feb. 24, the Mean Green lost to Rice 12-8 but took away several positives. This past weekend, the team lost to Texas Tech University 16-7 on Mar. 1 before beating Tarleton State 15-3 on Mar.3. Recently, the team fell to Arkasas 22-14 at home on Saturday. But the growth has been there.

“For us, it’s still early in the year, and we’re still figuring out who we are,” Skiles said. “We had a big step in our game against Rice, and I really liked what I saw.”

Now all that is left for the team moving forward is more support from their peers and an increase of spectators in the bleachers.

“Come on out to a game,” Cox said. “See what we’re all about.”

Featured image: The men’s lacrosse club huddles during a timeout against Texas Tech University on Feb. 19, 2016.Courtney Anderson | Staff Writer

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Simreen Kheraj

Simreen Kheraj

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