Earlier this month, The Old Dominion Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll for the Men’s Lacrosse season, selected VWU Men’s Lacrosse team in the ninth position of the table. At the time, the men’s team was ahead of the Panthers of Ferrum College and the WildCats of Randolph College. However, due to a recent loss against the Knights of Neumann University, the VWU men’s team now sits tenth in the position table.
Despite the loss, the team does not rush thinking about the season, but focuses on the next game instead. “Our expectation for any season is to approach it as a one-game season where our next game is our most important and we focus on going 1-0,” senior Adam Smedley said.
Smedley is confident in his team and he also believes that the young players have been a great addition to the team’s chemistry. “The first-year players have adapted well and learned how to operate in our team setting which has provided for good chemistry,” Smedley said. He also added, “The team looks well suited for this next season. We have a great mix of both old and young players that provide for some much-needed depth.”
Another player from the Lacrosse Men’s team that also believes in the young players is senior Christopher Lindemeyer. “I think the first-years have truly brought something into the program and that’s all you can ask for,” Lindemeyer said. “They give it their all and compete hard alongside the rest of the guys day in and day out.”
Lindemeyer states that his team is in good form for this season. “The team is definitely prepared for this season. Our coaches and my fellow seniors and I have made sure our guys are ready to go,” Lindemeyer said.
As a player, Lindemeyer expressed that he is ready to compete, “I’m very ready for this season. I know a couple guys back in my hometown that play for other schools and we were out working and getting better every chance we got in the off season to prepare us,” Lindemeyer said.
Lindemeyer, who has been with the team since 2020, was the goal leader for the Lacrosse team in the game against Neumann University this past Feb. 19. Lindemeyer contributed with four goals on ten shots.
Fundamentals in every sport have been a success at the time of competition, and Lindemeyer supports this. “I think that if we take care of the fundamentals and trust each other out on the field that the future could be bright for the boys,” Lindemeyer said.
On the other side, the coaching staff has been putting their players to work for performance and improvement.
Smedley stated that the coaching staff is one of the reasons that he and his team are prepared. “The coaching staff has done an excellent job putting the team in positions to succeed and now it’s up to the players to execute. I feel that the off-season work plus the coaching staff has put me in a great position to contribute to the team,” Smedley said.
The VWU Women’s Lacrosse team was selected by the Old Dominion Athletic Conference preseason coaches poll to be the ninth position surpassing the Wild Cats of Roanoke College. As of now, the team is placed on the table with a 2-2 conference record due to the victory against Methodist University and the loss against Christopher Newport University.
The team overall had a good start and believe that they are more ready to compete. “We definitely are more prepared for this season than last year, we are in a better position for this season,” senior Madeline Gourley said.
One of the reasons is due to the changes that took place last season. Coach Nicole DeSalvia described last season as the foundation of the team. “My first season here at VWU we were gone in March so we didn’t really get to develop and build a season of a culture, so last year was the foundation of that,” DeSalvia said. She has been the head coach of the Women’s Lacrosse team since 2019.
Recently, the team acquired the talents of Mike Hairston, former student of VWU, as the goalkeeper coach to which DeSalvia expressed that it was a good addition. “Having an alumni involved with us is a really good addition to help build what we want our program to look like,” DeSalvia said.
“Junior Natalie Dunn, senior Mikayla Callahan and senior Madeline Gourley have done a really good job leading us as captains,” DeSalvia said. The chemistry that the team has on and off of the field is thanks to their leadership brought by the team captains.
The Women’s Lacrosse team has nine first-year players, who have been adjusting to the life of a college-athlete. “The freshmen are struggling a little bit, with balancing class, practices and games schedules and I feel bad for them but they are getting better,” junior Natalie Dunn said.
“I think the biggest thing for them is just balancing with everything being so strange all the time. But on the field, I think they are doing a really good job, showing up for what we asked them to do,” DeSalvia said. “But I think that we needed our first two games and our game against CNU to show them the high level of college lacrosse.”
The team is looking forward to making the ODAC postseason playoffs this season. “We were a game short last year and we definitely had two games we could have won. So just getting there and actually competing. And then, after that each year, as we make a further round and further round we still get the experience. I want to get us to that space this year so we’re prepared next year when we’re even better,” DeSalvia said.
Lastly, she encouraged people to support both of the teams, because even if they are losing, the fans’ support is something that motivates the player until the last second of the game. “Watching something a little different and you can expect to have fun and learn something about a cool sport. So, I hope everybody comes,” DeSalvia said.
By Steven Serrano