By Mack Olmsted, Asst. Production Editor/ Asst. Arts& Entertainment Editor
Manhattan The Men’s Lacrosse (7-2, 4-0 MAAC) is living in a high with their four-game winning streak within the MAAC conference. The team has been doing well in the past several weeks. Their goal has been to work hard and to try their best under the new head coach, John Odierna.
The team proved themselves time and time again going up against the other schools in the MAAC conference. With 91 goals total, the Jaspers are looking to end their season on a high note.
The players and coaching staff alike have a strong passion for lacrosse. A lot of the players have been growing up with the sport, begging to play from a very young age. Odierna started playing lacrosse in the sixth grade and claims he’s been waiting to be in the position he’s in for 33 years. Christian Clifford and Kyle Gucwa have also been playing at a young age and both claim that lacrosse is a strong part of their life.
Senior Gucwa explained the team’s mentality going into the rest of the conference season. He explained to the Quadrangle that the whole team is working hard and is proud of the work they put in to get to the point they’re at now.
“We don’t even think we played our best lacrosse yet, which is really exciting, and encouraging seeing that we’re able to win games, and we think we still have a lot left to prove,” Gucwa said. “So that gives us a big goal to work towards is playing our best lacrosse…So we’re really excited that we have a lot ahead of us and a big goal to work towards.”
Clifford is a three-time MAAC all-academic team member and is a key defensive player for the Jaspers. Clifford was awarded MAAC Student-Athletes of the Week for his excellent defense and contribution to the team. Clifford felt honored to be recognized.
“It was definitely rewarding to get your academics kind of acknowledged in that sense. Kyle [Gucwa] gets it too, It’s a little bit tougher [being a student athlete]. So it’s nice to get that kind of acknowledgment… Definitely wasn’t expecting it, it was surprising to see, but it was definitely humbling and rewarding to see that.” Clifford said.
Clifford explained that the team wants to feel as “fresh” as they can when it comes to preparing for a game. He explained to The Quadrangle that the team has been having shorter practices. By having shorter practices the team puts their focus more so on efficiency that way they use their time accordingly and strategically.
Even though the Jaspers have been having a good season, it doesn’t come without its own challenges and hard work. Odiema explained his experience with the team thus far this year. Since this is the first season the team is coming off of a championship in 20 years, Gucwa explained that the team is playing to prove themselves worthy of being in the position they were in last year when they won the championship.
“This is the first time we’ve ever been the target,” Gucwa said. “That people are going after we’ve always been the little guy looking up to other teams. Last year all of our focus was going into the conference play. We have a lot of revenge against these teams we’re about to play. This is the first championship that we’re coming off of in 20 years. So we’ve never been in a position where we’re expected to be good. The next year. It’s always been a surprise when we’re good. So it’s been a challenge handling that as a team.”
Odierna told the Quadrangle what his hopes are for the Jaspers going forward and what he hopes the closing half of the conference season will be. He expects everybody’s “best shot.” He talked about how the Jaspers have a target over themselves and how it’s the team’s duty to stand up for themselves as the defending champion.
“I think. I think for us, we’re expecting everybody’s best shot. Ordierna said. We’ve been talking about that all year… We’re expecting them to give us their best game and we’ve got to make sure that we’re gonna give them our best game of the year so far.” Ordierna said.