In the spring of 2013, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) men’s lacrosse team captured a Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) title with a 13-11 victory over Salisbury. This was the third CAC title in program history. Although the Seahawks have yet to win a title since they are setting their sights on making a CAC playoff run this season. While the last few seasons have seen the Seahawks finish below .500, they have a much-improved roster and claim to be ready to surprise people this season.
The 2017 St. Mary’s roster is well balanced. Despite bringing on eleven freshmen, the Seahawks still are returning nine seniors. This will provide good leadership in order to mentor the next generation of St. Mary’s lacrosse players. There are also several transfers on the roster who will be new to the Seahawk program.
According to assistant senior captain, Javier Flores: “The goal of the season is to improve from last year and to [both] make and compete in the [Capital Athletic] Conference tournament.” In order to make the conference tournament at the end of the season, St. Mary’s must be one within the top six teams in CAC standings. Last year, the Seahawks failed to make the tournament as they concluded the season in seventh place in the conference. Overall they had a 4-9 record and a 2-6 record in conference.
Personnel change alone will not simply change this record. The CAC is a very tough conference for lacrosse, seeing as both York and Salisbury moved on to the NCAA tournament last year. Salisbury went on to win the Division III NCAA championship. Over the offseason, Flores says that the team was given both lifting and running workouts. He also mentions that they had wall ball and shooting drills. These drills have prepared St. Mary’s for the demanding season that lies ahead.
Starting off the year, the Seahawks lost their first four games to Dickinson, Eastern, Marywood, and Washington College. Both Washington College and Dickinson are considered some of the best Division III men’s lacrosse teams in the nation. The game against Marywood on Feb. 25 was a very close contest in which the Seahawks battled back from an eight to four deficit heading into the fourth quarter. In the final nine minutes of the game, the Seahawks had goals scored by sophomores Connor Benhoff, Ray LaPlaca, and Max Groen to bring the score to 9-6 in favor of Marywood. In the final minute, St. Mary’s forced two turnovers and had multiple stops, but could not get a goal across. Junior Dan Long and Groen each scored two goals in the match (Nairem Moran, smcmathletics.com).
St. Mary’s will begin conference play on March 18 as they host Southern Virginia. This will be a military appreciation day game.
The Seahawks are coached by Jason Childs, who is now in his second season at St. Mary’s. He is assisted by Justin Gordon. This year’s captains for St. Mary’s are seniors Max Alderman, Mike Becraft, and Brendan Steele. The assistant captains are seniors Luke Eshleman and Flores, along with redshirt sophomore Steve Jones.