The national tournament brackets for Division III lacrosse were announced on Sunday, and the women’s team will be competing for national dominance this upcoming weekend. The men’s team traveled to Pennsylvania earlier this week where they put up a strong fight against Cabrini University, but the 21–10 loss deemed their season over.
It was the second year in a row the Tigers have been taken down by Cabrini, as last year’s matchup was 22–10 in favor of the Cabrini Cavaliers.
Although this marks the end of the 2018 campaign for the Tigers, it won’t be a forgotten one, considering the amazing highlights this season. From dominant victories to intense comebacks, the Tigers have been fun to watch all season.
Sophomore attacker Coby Petau spoke to the importance of the top-15 regular season finish; “It means a lot to us. Getting national recognition is what we’ve been trying to achieve for our 54 years as a program and now we’ve got it.”
Petau went on to describe how the team has improved over the years to make it happen: “Our team has been constantly improving. Every year we get kids on our team that really want to be here and to do well,” he said. “Our goal is to be number one and this is just one of those stepping stones.”
Senior attacker Robbie Stern also shared his thoughts on the recognition; “It is great to be recognized for our hard work and success,” Stern said. “But we believe that being nationally ranked should be a regular thing for the program.”
A national ranking seems like it will be a regularity in the years to come as, despite senior losses like Stern and midfielder Sam Mathai, the team is looking strong. Although Stern’s 50 goals will be hard to replace, younger members of the team are looking primed to step up.
As for the women, they ended their regular season 14–4,and will enter the tournament with a two-game win streak, beating Southwestern University and Meredith College to close out another winning season. Next up is Claremont Mudd-Scripps, a team the Tigers lost to 14–9 earlier this season. Despite the loss, the Tigers are confident, but they understand it’s not going to be an easy game.
“Claremont is our west region rival,” senior attacker Steph Kelly said. “They’re a top 25 team and are extremely well skilled, so it’s going to be a battle. We’ve had a lot of success in the tournament in my four years here and the postseason is a new season … We’re prepared to go into the game knowing that to keep our chances alive we have to win.”
The Tigers also faced Claremont in their first game of the national tournament in 2017, so the teams are familiar with one another. The Tigers won the battle last year, by a score of 15–12. CC will host their rivals, and Kelly went on to speak about the importance of a home game.
“It’s amazing to have a home bid for the second round of the tournament,” Kelly said. “We were expecting to have to travel to California this weekend. It’s a great feeling to have this game be a culmination of our efforts this season, especially to have it at home.”
This year’s Tigers only have five seniors on the roster, so the team will be largely relying on its youthful talent.
“This team is different because we are a lot younger than we have been in past years,” Kelly said. “Nearly half the team is underclassmen which usually would be a detriment, but our underclassmen bring uniqueness to this team that I think is unlike any other.” She went on to talk about how the young team has meshed throughout the season; “The culture of this our team this year specifically makes this tournament appearance feel so special,” Kelly said. “We’ve really come together this year.”
The team’s four losses this season, especially the one against Claremont, have served as learning opportunities. Kelly spoke about what the team needs to do to make a deep run in the tournament.
“We always say that it’s crucial we play our game and not play to the other team,” Kelly said. “Our downfall comes when we don’t start strong and have to fight back, so the goal is to come out to play for 60 minutes without mental lapses.”
The Tigers host Claremont this coming Sunday—so come out and support our team!