ALEX MOORE; Guest Writer; email@example.com
In April of 2011, the Pacific Lutheran University Men’s Lacrosse team defeated Central Washington for its final win of the 2011 season. It would prove to be their last win for six years.
A combination of few new players and lack of internal team leadership led the Lutes, who once consistently made playoffs, to the bottom of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) Division II rankings.
The plummet to the bottom put head coach of sixteen years Gregory Gutherless in a tough spot over the winless tenure. Numbers were low, team morale was low and money was still required to play in the league. Gutherless paid money out of pocket to keep the team’s pocketbook even year after year.
However, the seeds of success were planted when captains Colin Brown, ‘15, and Jordan Harder, ‘16, recruited a large class of first years for the 2015 season. While the team had other senior players, the large boost in numbers dramatically increased competitiveness and intensity at practices. Many of these first years had never played lacrosse before.
While the technical skills were not up to par with other teams in the league, the team continually improved over the course of the 2015 season despite losing every game by double-digit margins. Still, players suited up and got after it week after week.
In the 2016 season, the Lutes remained winless but had cut losing deficits by more than half. In 2015, they lost to crosstown rivals UPS 15-0. In 2016, they lost 14-9. The Lutes lost to St. Mary’s (CA) 21-2 in 2015 but lost only by one goal in 2016. The final game of the season ended with a 10-9 loss to Great Falls (MT), ending the 2016 season on a bitter note.
This buildup set the stage for 2017. A culmination of strong team leadership, a larger coaching staff and a strong foundation of players led the once-struggling Lutes into something they had desired for six years: a win.
That win came against Weber State (ID) on March 11. Led offensively by sophomore Elijah Singstad, who put up six goals in the game, the Lutes fought the Wildcats for all 60 minutes and earned every single point they put up, winning 11-9.
First-year Yehun Lee dominated the faceoffs and consistently put the ball in the stick of junior Ian Svasand to keep the ball away from the Wildcat offense. After that, long-standing chemistry, hard work and a little fourth quarter magic yielded a win.
The Lutes haven’t stopped looking upward and return to face Southern Oregon at home on Thursday, April 6 at 12:00 p.m. and UPS on April 20 at 7:00 p.m. ◼︎