By BRI WEBBER
As the weather starts to warm up, spring sports are underway, the most promising of which might turn out to be Saints lacrosse. The men’s team has had an especially strong preseason, which began with a win at Western New England in early March. From there, the Saints were able to maintain and hold momentum for a seven-game win streak. This past weekend, the men’s team fell to Rochester Institute of Technology. The Tigers beat out the Saints 19-12. Despite this loss, the Saints still hold the best record overall at 7-1 and are currently tied with Vassar, Clarkson, and Union in the conference at 1-1.
The men’s team welcomed back 18 seniors this season, several of which are returning starters. This year’s team also has a great experience going into the postseason, as the men earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament Semifinal in 2016. The Saints record for the 2016 season stood at a strong 18-3 after their loss to Tufts in the semifinals. Standout players Andrew Jarrett, Jon Fairbanks, and captain Conor Healey are all returning to the team this season. Looking forward, the men will play SUNY Plattsburgh on April 5th and then Bard on April 8th. Both games will be held at the Hall Leet Stadium here at SLU, and the game against Bard is part of the Liberty League Conference.
The women’s team is also welcoming back several returners. A majority of the starters from last year are on the roster for this season, which is comprised of seven seniors and seven juniors. The women have had a slightly less successful preseason in comparison with the men, and now stand at 0-1 in the league and 2-5 in their overall record. This record is not as indicative of the Saints true talent and performance as it may seem. The women held off current NCAA Champion, Middlebury, throughout the first half of their game against them this season. According to senior midfielder Julia Mitiguy, the team has yet to play consistently to their full potential. “We don’t always use the same starting line up,” says Mitiguy, “but a majority of the players on our team are returning from last season, so we have a really experienced team and a lot of individual talent.” It is less a matter of if the women have the talent to go far, and more about whether they can play to their full capacity and come together as a cohesive team for a full 60 minutes, said Mitiguy. It is still very early in the season, and the women have a lot of time and the necessary talent to get there.
Perhaps the best example of the women’s full potential so far this season is when the Saints rallied on their preseason trip to Colorado, winning 21-18 over Colorado College and 12-1 against Chapman University. During their preseason training trip, the women had the opportunity to stay at an Olympic training facility in Colorado, where they ate, slept, and trained like elite athletes and experienced the altitude training with which most Olympic athletes are familiar. This was promising going into their first conference game, but the Saints fell in a close game to Clarkson.
The women will play RPI and rival Skidmore this weekend and then later in the month. Possibly one of the most pivotal weekends for the women’s lacrosse team, where the Saints will take on William Smith and Union, is on Springfest weekend, April 21st and 22nd.