Men’s lacrosse takes third straight

Sophomore+Kevin+Lewis%0Aweaves+through+the+opposing+defense%0Awith+the+ball.++Photo+Courtesy+of+Athletic+Communications

Sophomore Kevin Lewis weaves through the opposing defense with the ball. Photo Courtesy of Athletic Communications

Brian O'Neill

With two games left, Lafayette enters the playoff picture

The Lafayette men’s lacrosse team has found their feet in recent weeks by winning three games in a row, sitting at a 4-8 on the season.

This represents an encouraging improvement on what was an eight game losing streak since their last victory against Wagner in their season opener. It is the first time since 2010 that the team managed to string together three wins in a row.

For senior captain Matt Confort, victories in recent weeks can be attributed to a strong change in team mentality.

“I think we’re just better mentally,” Confort said. “We’re more mentally tough. On defense we’ve been playing much better. Just communicating, focusing on doing your job rather than trying to do too much—something we struggled with earlier in the year. People weren’t focusing on just their job, and they were trying to maybe overcompensate in other areas.”

It is important to ensure that encouraging success doesn’t lead to complacency or arrogance, according to Confort.

“Obviously with the wins we’re getting more confident, but we’re trying not to get too confident,” Confort said. “So we’re really just focused on taking it one game at a time, one quarter at a time, one possession at a time and just winning the battle for that possession for that quarter for that game.”

Fellow senior captain Cory Scheuerle agreed, further explicating the level of focus and determination that will be needed to achieve season goals.

“As a senior I want to keep the team focused—‘stay hungry and stay humble’ as they say,” Scheuerle said. “Keep your eye on the prize. Keep the team focused, keep the guys loose, keep the guys having fun and playing lacrosse.”

As with any winning team, influence from the coach played strong part in contributing to the team’s success.

“Coach [Rogalski] changed a few things up over the past few games, offensively and defensively,” Scheuerle said. “I think it’s kind of helped us play fast lacrosse and stay loose.”

Confort has seen the team’s attitude improve on the practice field as a result of head coach Jim Rogalski’s leadership.

“Practice has been a lot better, its been a lot more fun, guys are accepting criticism and dealing with that much better than we have been,” Confort said. “And he’s [Rogalski] moved a few guys around in some positions they haven’t really been playing and they’ve responded and they’ve been playing pretty well.”

With the prospect of playoff lacrosse now dangled in front of the Leopards, a continuation of strong form will prove to be crucial.

“Now that we’ve kind of created this winning streak, I think to win out the next two games against Bucknell and Lehigh, two opponents we’ve never beaten in the past four years I’ve been here, and to possibly make a stretch in the Patriot League playoffs, would be a huge way to end my college career,” Scheuerle said. “Bucknell and Lehigh will be two very big matchups for us. They’re top 30, top 40 teams in the country and they’ve been playing pretty well recently.”

Lafayette’s existing rivalry with Lehigh is no secret, and with the teams sharing near identical records, defeating the Mountain Hawks on the last game of the season would mean more than ever before for a lacrosse program that has struggled in recent years.

The Leopard’s next game against Bucknell will prove a greater challenge, however, the Bison improved to 6-5 on the season, and will certainly look to rob Lafayette of what would be a dream season finale.