The Geneseo men’s club lacrosse team has started the year out strong. In their first three games, they have gone 2-1, with two of those victories coming from SUNY Fredonia. Their only loss was against St. Bonaventure University.
With a successful 2016 season and a good start to their spring season, junior accounting major Mel Ackley is content with where the team is at right now—especially since the team is still relatively new.
“We’re pretty happy with the 2-1 record,” Ackley said. “We’ve come a long way since we really picked up the team last fall.”
Formerly known as the Geneseo Lumberjacks, the club lacrosse team has recently changed their name to the Geneseo Land Sharks. The Land Sharks have been expanding their roster as the campus grows more aware of their league.
“The interest level has really spiked … we’ve had a lot more guys being vocal about it,” Ackley said. “Over the past year and a half we’ve seen a lot of growth, and it’s amazing to see.”
Though they may only be a club sport, the team is here to compete. With two hour practices two days a week, the men want to make sure that they have ample time to get everyone ready for the games. Despite students’ busy schedules, come game time, everyone is supporting each other.
“We really do want to compete,” Ackley said. “Sometimes it is tough to get everyone to come out [for practice] because it’s a tough school—they’re busy. But a lot of the time we do have a good showing at practice, and when it comes to the games we’re all there supporting each other.”
The team has about 35 active members, including some who have never played lacrosse until this year—but that does not mean that they do not get playing time.
“We do have guys that have never played before,” Ackley said. “We’ve got a couple guys that started about a year and a half ago when we first started, and they’ve been playing since then. They’ve really started to pick the game up.”
The team has been fortunate enough to gain a few players from the varsity team who wanted a more relaxed lacrosse environment. The wide variety of skill level that makes up the Land Sharks results in a fun, yet competitive learning experience for the men.
Since the team is a club sport, they do not have a coach; rather, the team captains and more advanced players take initiative and act as the coaches. Even with the number of players on the team, the players are able to keep a good foundation, which is led by their team leaders and captains, according to Ackley.
Alongside the club’s president senior midfielder Pat Vullo, Ackley also described junior goaltender Connor O’Shell as a big part of the team’s success.
“He’s a big leader out there,” Ackley said. “He’s very good and he knows the game really well, so we’re glad to have him.”
Looking forward this year, the team is trying to host a tournament on the Geneseo campus. Their aim is to gather 10 other teams from around the area to compete in the tournament, which would be an exciting experience for both new and seasoned players. The Land Sharks aspire to use this as a great opportunity to show off their hard work to their peers.