This season brings new hope to the Raiders Men’s Lacrosse Team who finished 8-5 last season (2-2 in league) with a first round loss to Western Washington University in the playoffs. This season also brings in a new crop of players for the Raiders, as they bring in sixteen recruits.
The Raiders will need the help after losing four seniors last season, most notably 2012 PNCLL Defensive Player of the Year Joey Moseanko, and 2012 PNCLL 2nd Team All-Conference Midfielder Sean McQuown.
Fortunately, the Raiders return eleven players, including top three goal scorers Junior Tom Halley, Sophomore AJ Chase, and Senior Max Raynor, who combined for 107 of the 189 points scored last season. Also on the defensive side they will welcome back Sophomore goalie Killian Spicer-Torreblanca who recorded 143 saves to go along with his 57.9% save percentage.
The Raiders look to build off their last three winning seasons, and to move past the first round of the PNCLL playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Coach Mark Brown will be returning for his 9th season at SOU, and looks to take another huge stride towards making SOU Lacrosse a program to be reckoned with. Coach Brown took some time over the weekend to chat about the upcoming season.
How do you transition from last year’s team full of experienced guys, mainly the four seniors, to this year’s team full of youth?
Mark Brown: Losing key seniors is always difficult, especially on a team that has historically had low #’s on our roster compared to our opponents. The transition will go smoothly as long as our returners step up into leadership roles and our coaching staff meets expectations.
What are your expectations this season? And who do you expect to step up and be the leader of this team?
MB: We have the largest roster in SOU Lax history. The only time we had this many players was in 2009 and we went 13-1 in the regular season earning a #1 seed in the PNCLL playoffs. If the guys are dedicated to learning, and doing the edge workouts (team lifting, wall ball, study hall, etc.) there isn’t any reason we can’t achieve great things. I expect Jr.’s Justin Cooper, Tom Halley, Nick Perry to step up along w/ Sr. Joey Hayashi and many of our newcomers that have a great Lacrosse background.
After making the PNCLL Playoffs the last four years, how do you plan to keep that streak going, and how can you guys get further into the playoffs after being eliminated the last three years in the first round?
MB: We have made our League playoffs every year except for our first season in 2005. This year will be the toughest as Whitman College was moved into our division, they have made the league playoffs for over 10 years in a row. With the University of Portland and Western Oregon, the two teams that have played in the PNCLL Championship game two years in a row, also in our division it means one of the four teams won’t make the playoffs. Although we are technically a “club” team we treat our team as a Varsity team. If we outwork our opponents, both on and off the field, from now until our league games begin we can achieve our goal of winning our first PNCLL Championship which would send us to the MCLA National Championship Tournament in Greenville, SC.
What will it take for this team to win a championship?
MB: Learning to play and execute our game plan for an entire 60 minutes.
Four of the teams you play this season are nationally ranked. How does playing against nationally ranked teams benefit your team, and morely, how does it help your program make a name for itself?
MB: Playing nationally ranked teams is the only way to get SOU Lax back to where we want to be. In the past we have been ranked as high as #7 in the Nation. We put together a schedule that really challenges us and show us where we need to be to be considered one of the top teams in the Nation. Our Spring Break trip this year features games against Concordia and Cal-St. Fullerton, both which I expect to be in the top 10 in the Nation. We will find out how we stack up and gain the needed experience heading into our PNCLL League games.
I know you are both a Baltimore Raven fan, and a Virginia Tech fan, so what do you expect from both of them this season? More importantly, will you be attending any of their games?
MB: The Hokies are struggling this year after losing many players to the NFL. Coach Beamer and Def. Co. Foster are the only guys I’d want to have to right the ship. The Ravens have started off well and it is rumored NFL DMVP T. Suggs will be back by mid-November, if this happens watch for the Ravens to make a run at the Super Bowl. I will be attending the game at M&T Bank Stadium in my home town of Baltimore, MD as the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town on 12/2. Go Ravens!