Lacrosse players want better weather

Nathan Bottiger, Managing Editor

Last year, Pitt-Johnstown’s Lacrosse Club was plagued by nasty weather that ended their season early, but, this year, they are hoping for some sunny days.

Senior Matt Ziance said the team canceled 10 of their 15 games last year due to poor weather conditions.

The team had a 4-1 record last year, and the players came one game short of reaching a wild card position for their conference’s playoff games.

“This is the most talented team we’ve had, and it would be a shame if the weather doesn’t allow the correct amount of games to be played,” Ziance said.

Ziance said the team was invited to compete in the Chesapeake conference championships.

But, because Pitt-Johnstown ends its spring term earlier than other schools, many players were unable to be reached or unable to play.

Ziance said that this year they are a contender in the Keystone conference championships, despite the departure of key seniors Collin Boyer and Derek Douylliez.

Ziance said they were assets as vocal leaders and physical defensive players. He said there are two freshmen replacing them.

“Their stick skills are amazing,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting to see if they can grow into vocal leaders.”

Ziance said the overall roster is still strong with approximately 29 to 30 players and only three or four who are learning to play from scratch.

He said the rest of the team is comprised of players with three to eight years of experience.

“We have a lot of guys returning and a lot of skill returning.”

Unlike previous years, all players are fully equipped with safety gear, which was paid for by the school. The players also plan on paying out of pocket for new jerseys.

Ziance had an internship with Under Armor over the summer and was prompted to buy all the safety gear from the company.

He said having all the same pads and gear makes the team look more distinguished and organized.

Ziance said he would also like to talk to Under Armour officials about being a field sponsor for the team, which may be able to contribute some type of fencing around the field that prevents the ball from flying in the woods.

He said, for the time being, the team has been practicing twice a week.

Ziance said they are not able to have shooting practice during the winter because it is prohibited at the Wellness Center, so they are working on their shot as much as possible while the weather holds.

Ziance handed over his captain status to senior Tyler Burns for this season. Burns said he has seen many improvements since his freshman year.

Burns said he hopes to continue developing the club.

“My goal is to leave the club in a better place than when I got it,” he said. “ My hopes one day would before the Lacrosse Club to grow into a full NCAA team.”

He said he is impressed with the number of players they now have on their roster.

“From starting my freshman year with barely enough people to play games to now having close to 30 members on our roster, it has been an enjoyable experience.”

Burns said the team is scheduled to play at one fall tournament this year and may host a home tournament if the weather stays nice.

“It gives us good practice for our actual spring season and lets us look at what we need to work on in practice,” he said.

The players are scheduled to attend a tournament Oct. 19, at University of Frostburg, Md., where they are to compete with five or six teams.

The team attends this tournament yearly and usually sees conference teams like Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Slippery Rock University.

Burns is happy with where the team is, and said they have a promising chance to make the playoffs this year.

“There is a lot to get accomplished this year from growing the program to getting to the playoffs.”