North Texas Daily

Return to play provides optimism for lacrosse club

Return to play provides optimism for lacrosse club

Return to play provides optimism for lacrosse club
February 28
15:30 2022

It is a Tuesday in mid-February and the men’s lacrosse club is running scrimmages under a bruised sky quickly turning to black. “Top left! Top mid! Top right!” Players can be heard shouting in unison, alerting defenders to the location of the ball on the field.

The sounds and overlapping conversations which typically accompany lacrosse practices at Traditions Field have been absent recently. Men’s lacrosse had its last two seasons canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

“We were still early in the stage of the pandemic where there was a lot of uncertainty, and it probably would not have been a good environment to have a contact sport like lacrosse,” head coach Austin Lagomarsino said. “I think they made the right call there. I think we all missed it – it’s good to be back with the guys.”

Entering their fourth year with the team, senior co-captains Charlie Cochran and Adrian Perez said they have both witnessed the club’s ups and downs in the past three years. The last year the men’s lacrosse team played a full season was in 2019. Cochran said it was difficult losing two seasons to COVID-19 after his experience with the team as a freshman.

This year, the players are back to playing the sport they love.

“We’re trying and trying to recruit – trying to get these guys to come play lacrosse,” Cochran said. “But then we [had] nothing to offer them because we [could not] have a season. […] We have wind in our sails right now. Everything is about to start hitting full force.”

A former lacrosse player himself, Lagomarsino spits time between leading the club and working as an aerospace engineer at Raytheon.The men’s lacrosse team competes in Division II of the Lone Star Alliance, one of several conferences belonging to the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association.

Off to a 3-1 start to the season, the Mean Green opened play on Feb. 12 by defeating Texas A&M University-Galveston 12-10. The team traveled to Foley, Ala., a week later to compete in three weekend games at the Battle By The Bay MCLA Division II tournament, coming away with two wins and one loss.

Four freshmen have joined the roster for this season, getting their first experiences playing for the club over the first four matches.

“They don’t look like they’re freshmen,” Perez said. “They look like they’ve been playing here for a while now.”

The team has also been aided by contributions from its defensemen. Led by the team’s third co-captain, junior Chase Kindhart, the defensive unit did not allow a goal in a 21-0 win over Florida Polytechnic University.

“One of the things we had my first year was, we had a lot of senior defenders on the team,” Lagomarsino said. “We had a very established group and they all have graduated since. So we have lots of guys who are playing together for the first time on our defense this year, but they have all really applied themselves physically to it this year.”

The majority of the team’s games are away from Denton this season with two home games scheduled compared to 10 road contests. It has already played one of its home games. Cochran and Perez both said that since the pandemic forced the men’s lacrosse team to cancel on opponents they were expected to travel to, they are making up those games by traveling to them this season.

“Now [players are] finally getting to travel and see all the hype we were telling them about.” Cochran said. “Next season, we should definitely have more home games.”

There are seven games left in the Mean Green’s season, with the exception of more games if they make the Lone Star Division II Tournament. The top two teams in each of the LSA’s four divisions qualify for the tournament. Competing in the Central division, North Texas will face division foes Dallas Baptist University (March 8) and Oklahoma State University (April 9) later this season in games to help decide which teams make the tournament.

“We haven’t been to the playoffs in five, maybe six years,” Perez said. “To make it to the playoffs after being gone for two years, I think that would say a lot about our program and where we’re going.”

Featured image: Attacker Jerry Decarlo winds up to shoot at Traditions Field on Feb. 15, 2022. Photo by James Carroll

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Max Lockhart

Max Lockhart

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