Last year, the AU athletic program welcomed a new sport: lacrosse. Although many students were interested in the sport, some students may still find themselves asking what exactly the sport is.
According to Jacob Ashton, head coach of the men’s lacrosse team, lacrosse is a combination of various sports.
“The game is exciting and engaging,” said Ashton. “It is a lot of sports all in one. It is similar to hockey and basketball, and there are many soccer concepts, too. You also can see the physicality that football and rugby offer.”
Like many other sports, Ashton stressed the importance of the team working together and working diligently on and off the field.
“The women play with 12 players and the guys play with 10,” said Ashton. “In the men’s game, there are 10 guys including a goalie. There are three defenders, three forwards or midfielders and three attacks.”
While the men’s lacrosse team did not win as many games as they would have liked to last season, they still led the conference in various statistics, which is something that Tristan Wilbrandt, junior and midfielder on the men’s lacrosse team, is proud of.
“We only won one game last year, but it was still really fun,” said Wilbrandt. “This program offers something that a lot of other programs cannot offer. Whether you are the best player on the team or the worst player, it is encouraging to know that you will be contributing to the success of the team.”
Lacrosse is a cardio-intensive sport, but practices are spent doing more than conditioning. Ashton and Wilbrandt agreed that getting in shape is essential, but since this is a new program, focusing on fundamentals is also important.
However, while the fundamentals are what helps make lacrosse what it is, Wilbrandt also appreciates the way Ashton is able to make practices fun to encourage camaraderie and team unity.
“My goal this year is to lead by example,” said Wilbrandt. “I want to show them the importance of lifting weights, practicing drills and having a positive attitude. I want to encourage my teammates and lead with a positive attitude.”
The men’s lacrosse team will have their season opener on Feb. 19 against Trine University and their home opener is against Wabash College on Feb. 23.
Ashton encourages students to find a few games they would like to come to and fill the bleachers.