Men’s lacrosse expects an upset against Sewanee


Andrew Walker

The Guilford College men’s lacrosse team assistant coach Mark Crisco tells the players the drills for practice on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2018. The Quakers begin the season Saturday, Feb. 17 at the University of the South Sewanee.//Photo by Andrew Walker/The Guilfordian

After losing 10-6 last season, Guilford College men’s lacrosse is hungry for a win against University of South Sewanee this year.

Coach Tom Carmean says he is looking forward to the game after having seven starters return. They were huge contributors to the team’s success the previous year and are now ready to push further.

“I think that a lot of guys were young last year, and they gained a lot of experience from it,” Carmean said. “We are able to continue from where we left off, and we are making a little faster progress than we have in the past.”

Last year, the lacrosse team started the game strong, sticking with Sewanee, 6-5, at halftime. Junior Zachary Berkowitz, the team’s leading scorer last season, scored three goals in the first half, but was unable to muster anymore goals in the second half.

Senior Aswan Bland, the team’s second highest scorer with 25 goals in the season, scored one goal on six attempts.

Berkowitz says nothing in the past matters, and he is looking forward to achieving a win against Sewanee this year.

“This game can’t be about them and what they do, we must have the mental strength to worry about ourselves and executing our game plan as perfect as possible,” said Berkowitz. “If things are not perfect we have to be able to change and adapt our plan and then execute that one at the highest level.”

This mentality carries throughout the team, as coach Carmean says they are specifically preparing for Sewanee, instead of attempting to coach the basics of lacrosse. Sophomore Connor Sweeney says practice under Carmean has helped tremendously. One aspect that he enjoys is practicing situational scenarios.

“Practice always helps, but we have been making sure to go 100 percent at all times so that during the game we go 100 percent as well,” Sweeney said. “We go through a lot of situational stuff to prepare us for the game, so we can expect anything and everything.”

Another important aspect the lacrosse team has been working on is chemistry. Carmean says the players are coming with various levels of experience, so working together in practice helps. Two key players that help with this are senior defensive juggernauts Parker Styles and Will Forrestal.

Styles returns this season as one of the best Old Dominion Athletic Conference  goalies. Starting all 16 games last season, Styles racked up 206 saves, and only nine goals were averaged against him. He achieved 10 games with 10 or more saves, and three were over 20 saves.

Forrestal also proved to be a menace for other teams. He was third in the ODAC conference in caused turnovers last season, 35, and second on the team for ground balls, 40. Last season he was named to the All-ODAC Second Team.

The game against Sewanee means more than just the start of the season for the Quakers’ Lacrosse team. Sweeney says it is redemption to them and, collectively, they are looking forward to it.

“We are coming full speed into that game,” Sweeney said. “The team definitely wants to redeem ourselves after a game we thought we should have won. It hurt to start the season out with a loss last year, but hopefully this year it will be sweeter to beat them on their home field.”

Guilford faces Sewanee Saturday at 2 p.m. in Sewanee, Tennessee. The first home game of the season is on Feb. 24 against Southern Virginia University.