The Cardinals have started the year off with a win, and they’re planning for an exciting season.
SVSU managed to secure a win for its first game of the season, beating the University of Michigan-Flint last Friday by a score of 13 to 5.
“So far, the season has gone very well,” said head lacrosse coach and SVSU professor Jason Kahler. “This Saturday we’re playing our second game against Siena Heights, and we’re pretty pumped for it.”
Among the changes for this year’s team is the change from the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association to the National College Lacrosse League. The Cardinals will play in the Midwest North Division.
According to Kahler, this is good news for the Cardinals because it gives the team a chance to step over into a new conference that has a strong organizational structure and could help the team reach a playoff position this year — something that it has been working up to in past seasons.
“It’s been great to see the progression of our team over the years,” Kahler said. “I think we have a lot of talent and it’s just a matter of harnessing that talent and putting it to use.”
“I think we look great this year,” midfielder Mike Berehula said. “This is the most organized and focused we’ve looked in a while. All we can do is stay focused and take it one game at a time.”
Among the challenges the team will face this year is balancing athletics and school.
“What’s hard is the fact that, at the end of the day, we’re still students,” Berehula said. “Lacrosse isn’t a varsity sport, so we have to work around our classes and other things.”
This year, the team has only 18 players on the roster, something that Kahler and the Cardinals see as an obstacle.
“I think our main challenge this year will be a numbers game,” Kahler said. “Battles of attrition and such.”
However, Kahler remains excited and hopeful, saying that despite the fact that the team is small, they have several new players and talented returning ones.
“We definitely have a lot of talent working in our favor,” Zabawski said. “Our biggest challenge will be the times when we have to play multiple games on the same day, which isn’t the easiest thing to do with such a small team.”
Midfielder Cameron Oswalt added that with such a small team they have to be extra careful to avoid serious injuries.
“It’s going to be tough, but I’m glad that we’re in a new league,” Oswalt said. “Now we have a real chance for the title.”
Despite the challenges the team has face, Kahler said that the team acts as worthy ambassadors for SVSU.
“These are some of the best guys on campus,” Kahler said. “They’re outstanding citizens, and when they put on a red jersey, it’s great to see the school represented so nicely.”