Jackets fueled by last year’s loss

Men’s Lacrosse Season Preview

There’s still a bitter taste in almost every player who finished the season with a loss in the OAC Semifinals. After securing nine-consecutive victories to close out the regular season, the Yellow Jackets were stunned by John Carroll. But even after the loss, the team is just looking to build off the experience they earned, starting in the offseason inside the gym, “We lost some strong seniors, but we also have a ton of returning guys who are ready for bigger roles on the field,” Head Coach Trey Keeley said. “We had a great off-season with adding T3 Strength Coaches to our program.  The guys have really developed some great relationships with our strength coaches and seen some serious gains. We were hitting Personal Records on a regular basis.”

Now, there is a lot in store in 2020 for Baldwin Wallace Men’s Lacrosse. BW Men’s Lacrosse has kickstarted their 2020 season off with a scrimmage against Wittenberg University on Saturday Feb 1. They will continue to prepare for their first game at George Finnie on 2/22 against Geneseo (N.Y) by facing off against Oberlin for another scrimmage this upcoming Saturday as well. Keeley said this season may be one of the toughest slates the Yellow Jackets have seen,

“We have the toughest schedule ever so that was definitely some motivation moving into our off season.  We start with SUNYAC runner up Geneseo who returns a lot, and the NCAA tournament participant Grove City the next week, and then spring break with Haverford and Colorado Colleges,” Keeley said.  “Not to mention Allegheny and Kenyon both before that spring break. So it will definitely prepare us for what we’ll expect in the ever improving OAC this spring.”

The Yellow Jackets made a statement last year in the OAC with a leading senior class, but the Jackets are not letting the graduated talent them discourage them. This year, the team brought in a record of 22 freshmen this spring. The program is ever evolving, and the boys are confident this new talent will lead them to another successful season.  Junior Keller Fisher (Rocky River, OH) said, “The team will be different with the amount of freshman this year, but we have a lot of strong athletes, and a lot of new roles will be filled by those strong athletes.”

Keeley agrees with him. From praising his juniors to the senior leaders, Keeley had great things to say about every player on the team. “Juniors like captain Nick Nanosky, Ethan Miller, and Gage Schneider who are really anchoring our midfield unit.  Returning seniors captain Ben Kubiak, Drew Braden and Riley Mahon have had great off seasons and are all ready to take on more of the offensive load,” Keeley said. “Our defense is returning a ton and we have some very skilled young players that will be on display in 2020 on the defensive end, Matt Rodenhouse is a 2 time All-OAC selection at close and he is joined by sophomore starter Clay Kolke and an impressive freshman Neil Randall.   Freshman Adam Blose has brought a really refreshing energy at LSM that we haven’t seen since I got to BW.”

The transition from high school to college can be challenging, but it has not taken long for the first years to adjust and call BW their home. Freshman Richie Roskoph (Strongsville, OH) said everyone is adapting well to the new dynamic—and because they are so young, it is going to take a few games for everyone to get used to the speed of the game at the college level, but it’s evident that it won’t take long for this class to put things together and make an impact.

Freshman Zach Marinello (Wooster, OH), said “We all have a really good attitude coming into this season and we are ready to get out there and show everyone what BW lacrosse is about.”

In addition to the hard work put in in and out of practice, the team has partaken in several team bonding activities in this preseason as well to help connect the men beyond lacrosse. In particular, the team recently went bowling with their young member, Grayson Oglesbee who is back for his second season with the Jackets through Team IMPACT—a national nonprofit which connects children with serious illnesses with NCAA college sports teams as a support system.

“It has been a fun tradition to bring our Go Team Impact teammate Grayson, who is halfway through 2nd grade already, to campus to compete with his peers in lacrosse related games. We are hoping to engage some of the youth programs with our games this spring,” Keeley said. “One of our program’s Core Values is Service, we try to practice that regularly with our team, but more widely in the university community and the surrounding areas.  Keeps the boys humbled, grounded, and makes the program about more than just winning games.”

Lastly, the Jackets have a lot more to look forward to this season. BW Men’s lacrosse will find themselves traveling to the West Coast, specifically Colorado Springs, in March for spring break this year. Here they will face-off against Haverford of PA. and Colorado College.