After a five-year hiatus, the University of South Dakota club lacrosse team is back in action.
The team played its first game of the 2014 season Feb. 8 in Lincoln, Neb., against the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, losing 19-0.
Going into the game against Nebraska, senior Ethan Netz said the team knew the weekend would be rough, as it was not only the team’s first game of the season, but it was also the first time most of the team’s members had ever played lacrosse.
Senior Alex Peterson, who has been in charge of getting the team started, said the team has four members who played high school lacrosse and one member who has previously played at the college level.
“One of the guys from the 2009 team wanted to play again, and he got into contact with me,” Peterson said. “It’s not prevalent in this area, but every high school in Minnesota has it, and we want to give students from there a chance to keep playing.”
As the team started practicing, Netz said they’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos to learn the proper lacrosse techniques. Peterson said several of the team’s members played club hockey at USD before that team ended.
“Hockey skills translate easily to lacrosse, so for those guys it’s been an easy transition,” Peterson said. “We’re relying on the guys who played lacrosse before.”
Senior Kris Hewlett said his focus has been getting in shape and learning the sport.
“I’ve been doing a lot of lifting and working out and really focusing on just getting the fundamentals down,” Hewlett said.
Peterson said since the team only has 13 members, they couldn’t do a full-on scrimmage, so they’ve been focused on 3-on-2 and 3-on-3 drills.
“Lacrosse is set up a lot like soccer, with forwards, midfielders, defenders and a goalie, so we can break off into smaller sections and practice against each other that way,” Peterson said. “Our goal is to find a consistent way to win and be more athletic than the teams we’ll be playing against.”
Once Peterson made the decision to start up the lacrosse team, he started recruiting some friends to play.
Hewlett said he decided to join the lacrosse team to be part of a team again.
“I started playing hockey here, so I saw this as another opportunity to learn another new sport,” Hewlett said. “It feels good to get back into sports and be athletic again.”
Netz said his only athletic experience in college has been playing intramurals.
“It’s going to be fun to see these other colleges and meet these other teams,” Netz said.
Currently, the team has 13 members, and Peterson said he would like to add at least five more. Members can be added to the roster at any time, so any interested students can contact Peterson at alex.Peterson@coyotes.usd.edu.
Once Peterson knew there was interest in a lacrosse team, he contacted Creighton University’s head coach, who helped him get in touch with the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association to officially reestablish the team in the conference. Peterson then started reaching out to various MCLA lacrosse teams in the region to schedule games.
So far, he has scheduled games with Iowa State, Benedictine College, Missouri Valley College, St. Olaf College and Dordt College. South Dakota State also started a club lacrosse team this year, but they’re not in a conference, so USD is planning a home scrimmage with them.
“We’re really looking forward to the scrimmage with SDSU,” Peterson said. “It’ll be a good chance for USD to come out and actually see a lacrosse game.”
USD’s next game will be March 30 at Creighton in Omaha, Neb.
Follow reporter Kayla Prasek on Twitter @kprasek