Mercyhurst College has become a lacrosse juggernaut this season.
Combined, the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are 21-1.
The men’s team is ranked second in the nation, and the women’s team is fifth.
The general expectations for the men’s lacrosse team were a bit lower going into the year, as the Lakers graduated a number of key seniors from the year previous.
The team themselves did not lower their expectations.
“The expectations did not change from year to year. We expect to go out each season and compete for a conference championship and a national championship each year,” men’s coach Chris Ryan said.
Perhaps the biggest loss from last year’s team was goalie Jason LaShomb.
Junior goalkeeper Zach Nash has stepped up to replace LaShomb.
“We miss Jason, but we have a good core of goalies this year who have stepped up to fill that gap,” Ryan said.
A youth movement with newcomers junior transfer Kevin Coholan and freshman Brian Scheetz has brought the Lakers a much needed boost this season.
“Sheetz and Coholan have added a lacrosse I.Q. to the team that has allowed us to overcome the great graduating class we had last year,” Ryan said.
Ryan also finds the attitude of this year’s team to be quite impressive.
“The attitude of this year’s team is excellent. They are a highly committed team in terms of success,” Ryan said.
The team is also committed to success on and off the field.
“This team has a really high GPA and they are totally committed to putting in time in the weight room, which is very impressive,” Ryan said.
For a younger team, the attitude the Lakers have on the field is highly unusual.
“The unselfishness shown by the guys this year is amazing. They really pass the ball around great, and rarely is there an unassisted goal. I actually wish they were a little bit more selfish,” Ryan said.
The men’s lacrosse team has ridden this unselfish play to a 9-0 record.
The women’s lacrosse team has also found major success while overcoming the loss of a great player from last year.
Breanna Haggerty graduated, leaving the Lakers with a huge gap to fill on the offensive end, but the Lakers have responded.
“We have a lot more balance offensively this year. I feel that we have eight players on our team that can score constantly for us this year,” women’s coach Cecil Pilton said.
The Lakers recently defeated crosstown rival Gannon University, 11-10, and this new offensive balance was the main reason for the victory.
“Gannon really came out there trying to shut down Kim Masterton, but we had some girls really step up and score. This year the offense isn’t a one-girl show, so now if our top scorer gets shut down, we have other options we can go to,” assistant coach Jillian Howley said.
This balance has the women’s team rolling to a 12-1 start.