The snow may not be melting yet at Oswego, but it is being pushed off Laker Turf for the start of lacrosse season. Spring is just around the corner, and the men’s lacrosse team is getting back into action.
The Lakers went 10-5 last season, finishing fourth in the SUNYAC standings. The Lakers went on a four-game winning streak before losing to SUNY Cortland in the first round of the SUNYAC playoffs. However, the Lakers only managed a 3-3 record in the conference despite their solid overall record. They had a high-powered offense last year, scoring the second-most goals in the conference with 156 with an average of 10.4 goals per game and shooting 24.6 percent. Head coach Drew Bezek and the team are hoping to build off a really strong past season.
“Every day, [we are] making sure we get better,” Bezek said. “Talent wise, we will be fine. It’s just whether or not we continue to progress and correct things and get better as the season goes on. … It’s really the expectation we should be in SUNYAC and competing for a SUNYAC Championship every year, not just hoping to make the tournament, so hopefully it’s the expectation and make it consistent thing on [a] year in and year out basis.”
Bezek said the new players will have to take coaching from the current ones.
“The nice thing for us is we don’t play a conference game until April, so it allows the new guys to be able to get acclimated to what we do, kind of our coaching style and everything that we’re doing,” Bezek said. “That’s really going to be the biggest thing for them to be able to make an impact, is to learn every single day and take the coaching.”
Bezek said he has many leaders on his team.
“I think the biggest thing is them being able to … almost coach guys a little bit on the field and be able to direct them so that it’s not just coming from the four voices of the coaches, but it is also coming from the guys on a day-to-day basis,” Bezek said,
Some of these leaders on the team include Junior attack Kyle Bacon. Last year as a sophomore, he led the team in goals with an impressive 29 goals in just 15 games played. Alongside Bacon is a senior from Lake Grove, Bobby Emerson. With the Lakers looking to make waves this season, the duo needs to continue to build off their successful seasons from last year. Emerson was second on the team in goals with 27.
Despite being just a sophomore, goalie Kevin O’Donnell is another Laker looking to lead the backend. As a freshman, O’Donnell was a sight to see in net. In 15 games played, he surrendered just 108 goals. His goals against average of 7.86 propelled the Lakers to the second best average in the SUNYAC. Additionally, the stalwart was named SUNYAC rookie of the year for his impressive efforts. Although the team looked rough in front of him, O’Donnell can see its potential and wants to push to make the NCAA tournament.
“We were rough in the scrimmages, but we definitely cleaned it up by the first game,” O’Donnell said. “It’s just about getting better every day.”
O’Donnell also talked about some of his personal goals for the year.
“[I like] helping out the freshmen and the younger guys to make sure they know what’s going on and building our culture as a team better than we did last year,” O’Donnell said.
Senior defenseman Mark McElroy echoed the desire to return to SUNYAC and win. He said he valued his position as a leader to get his team there.
“I came in as a freshman wanting to get … [to] where I am now—being one of the only seniors on the team, being a leader, trying to get these guys ready to get after it, it’s going to be a fun time,” he said.
McElroy said his time here has been great.
“I love the school. I love the atmosphere here. I love the coaches,” McElroy said. “It’s always fun. I love coming to play every day. Me as a senior, it’s my last go-around. I want to give it my all and go home with something I’m proud of.”
The Lakers are hoping they can make it back to the SUNYAC playoffs and make it past that as their season begins.
The Lakers won their first game of the season 6-5 against the Hartwick Hawks, and they are back in action this weekend on Saturday at 12 p.m. vs. Morrisville State.
Oswegonian File photo from 2018