Men’s lacrosse makes major improvements

For the past two seasons, the men’s lacrosse team has struggled to put together a winning season as a unit, but this year they look to defy previous years as they are off to a 4-1 start.

The 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons resulted in records of 2-14 and 4-12 respectively. However, for the current 2018-19 season the Marlins have already earned four wins with 69 total goals and 40 assists. The team is also sitting 1-0 in the conference early with a win over Ferrum with a score of 15-5.

The team is averaging about 14 goals per game and have dismantled a few teams this year already such as Greensboro who they beat in their first game of the season on Feb. 16 with a score of 22-7, and also against Berry on March 3 where they won 17-7.

The current players on the team can feel a shift in the atmosphere in a positive way and it is driving them forward. Freshman Ethan Artero is one of these players and said he can tell that the program is moving in the right direction.

“I think the biggest contributors to our success so far this year is our coaches, our team chemistry, and the mindset to play as fast as possible; emphasizing the pace we play at,” Artero said.

As a freshman, Artero knew what he was getting himself into making the decision to come play lacrosse at Wesleyan, and it gave him motivation to be better. “I did know about the team not being very successful last year, and it motivates me because I know that I’m apart of something bigger than a regular college lacrosse program, but a program that has been knocked down and has decided to get back up and fight again. And that to me is true courage and something to be prideful of,” Artero said.

The viewpoint of the team through an underclassmen set of eyes are different than that of an upperclassmen however. The upperclassmen on this team have gone through the tough times and hard losses whereas the underclassmen get to start their collegiate careers fresh.

Junior Cory Austin is among one of these upperclassmen and says the team morale is at an all time high. “Our morale is off the charts, however, we are a talented team and we are able to beat any team we play,” Austin said.

Along with team morale being boosted, the team’s confidence has skyrocketed this year following a tremendous start to the season.

“My role as an upperclassmen is to lead and teach the younger players whether that’s leading by example or being a good teammate. I don’t have a chip on my shoulder; at the end of the day it’s all about the team no matter what role you play,” Austin said.

The combination of hard work and leadership from young to experienced players on the team is an indicator of why the team has been so successful so far this season. When faced with the challenge of turning the program around, the team put together their best start in three years.

One coinciding factor of this is the play of sophomore Nathan Sheirburn. Sheirburn was named to the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association’s (USILA) National Team of the Week after his dominant performance against Greensboro. In this game, he tallied four goals, 15 ground balls and won 19 of his 24 faceoffs. He was also named the ODAC Player of the Week.

Sheirburn has already scored 14 goals on the year, followed closely behind by junior Greg Gaetano with 13 and then freshman Jason Thibeault with 10. Sheirburn also leads the team in ground balls with 38 on the season, and junior Dante Castillo has 24.

 After a dominating and convincing 15-5 win over Ferrum on March 9, the men’s lacrosse team faces off against Susquehanna at home on March 13 and hope to extend their winning streak to two games before heading full throttle into conference play.

Josh Gray