Men’s lacrosse makes great strides in year three

Quincy University Men’s Lacrosse Team wrapped up their third season in existence last week, April 19 against their conference opponent Rockhurst. While the score didn’t go their way to end the season, 14-8, there were many high points to the Hawks’ season.

During this season, the Hawks were able to grab their first win in program history on February 13, beating the Wheeling University Cardinals in Romeoville, Illinois. Many players who’ve been around since year one felt excitement and relief finally achieving their first win in college.

“It felt great to get the monkey off our back and get that win early in the season. It’s been a long process to get to this point and all I wanted to do was corral the guys from year one to cherish the moment, it definitely gave us juice going into the bulk of the season,” Neal Dardis said. 

The Hawks took that momentum into the rest of February to jump out to a 4-1 record to start the season defeating Benedictine College, Cornell College, and Columbia College, putting up double digit goals in three of their four wins. 

Jordan Ernst and Jayme Brain, both sophomores, began leading the Hawks in offensive categories in goals and total points, each having over 25 points heading into conference play. Brain reflected on his experience freshman year and how it’s had an impact on this season.

“It felt great getting points early in the season and finding a rhythm, I thought back during the offseason about how much I would get double or tripled last year, and it made me become more aware of my field vision. I think that’s why I have more assists this year and it gets me open more often,” Brain said. 

The Hawks’ luck took a turn over spring break, accumulating multiple injuries over the weekend trip and dropping one goal games to RMAC opponents Colorado State-Pueblo, and Adams State University.

“The injuries were a big blow in confidence during those games, we knew it would be a challenge finding replacements but knew with enough grit we could come out on top. Our game plan was great, unfortunately a ball didn’t bounce our way in the end,” Nick Woodworth said. 

As the Hawks limped into the back half of the season, they held up close games to ranked opponents of Maryville, Lewis, and Colorado Mesa, but would end their season winless in conference. 

While finishing 4-10 is not the desired end goal, the team can enjoy the first step in the right direction into becoming a nationally recognized program. The team was able to name their first 50 career points player in Jayme Brain, and their first player with a 30 goal season in Jordan Ernst, who ended with 31.

“It’s rewarding knowing that I can hang in this division and this conference, and is pushing me to do even better for junior year. It was hard for us near the end finding an offensive rhythm when we had low depth in our lines, but next year that should be all over for us,” Ernst said.

The Hawks have zero players graduating this season and have ten signed players in next year’s class already, with more possibly sprinkling in before August. With the same group and added talent to help the depth issues, the Hawks will be looking to turn more heads in 2023. 

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