Men’s lacrosse on hot streak going to ODAC play


Deanna Lassiter

First-year Michael Hickner takes the face-off during Saturday’s game against Shenandoah University. The Quakers won that game 10-4.//Photo Courtesy of Deanna Lassiter/Guilford Athletics

The Guilford College men’s lacrosse team is on a hot streak as it starts Old Dominion Athletic Conference play. The team has won its last seven games and is 8-2 on the season, the same amounts of wins as the team had last season.

“We’re back into where we want to be,” said head coach Tom Carmean. “Started a little bit on kind of a up and down course and then I think we righted it a little bit in the last couple of games.”

The program’s seven-game winning streak is its longest since 1986 and is powered by a strong offense and a stellar defense.

“Getting used to winning is a good thing, so they’re going out there with a little more confidence,” said Carmean.

The team has scored 125 goals on the season, averaging 13.5 per game. The top scorer for the Quakers is  midfielder Aswan Bland with 18 goals in the 10 games. Although Bland is the leading scorer, the team has a balanced attack with six players having scored more than 10 goals. Junior attacker Zach Berkowitz has scored 18 goals and nine assists this season.

The team has been working together better this season as they have 57 assists. Sophomore midfielder Brennan Sweeney leads the team with 16 assists, which is fourth most in the ODAC.

“We’re a lot more of a team opposed to a bunch of individuals, and we’ve played that way. We have a lot more assisted goals than we had,” said Berkowitz. “Everyone’s putting out and not worrying about themselves, more worrying about getting wins.”

The defense has held opponents to 7.8 goals a game, 42nd in Division III.  It is anchored by seniors Will Forrestal and Matt Bowen.

“I feel like I’m doing a solid job of producing and playing roles that our team needs,” said Forrestal.

In the goal for the Quakers this season is senior Parker Styles, in his third year as the team starting goalkeeper. This season he has done an amazing job in the goal. He allows an average 7.34 goals per game, has 102 saves and a 60.4 save percentage, all top in the ODAC. The save percentage puts Styles ranked 37th in Division III.

The team returned many players from last year and that has been a key part of the success.

“Last year a lot of these guys were playing their first year of real participation in college lacrosse,” said Carmean. “So, they got experience last year and I think we’re just a little bit ahead of where we were the year before experience wise.”

The seven-game winning streak started back on Feb. 28 with an 8-4 victory over Methodist University. Since then Guilford has only allowed one opponent to score in double digits. The offense has scored in double digits since then, including a season-high 21 goals against Pfeiffer University.

Included in the winning streak has been victories over conference opponents Virginia Wesleyan University and Shenandoah University. Guilford’s final seven games of the season are all conference play as the look towards making the playoffs.

“The level of intensity has gone up because we know the conference play is difficult,” said Carmean. “I think the out-of-conference games have done their job in getting us ready.”

The team looks to extend the winning streak tomorrow as they face Bridgewater College.