Editor’s note: Kevin McGuirl is President of the Rutgers Club Lacrosse team, which plays in the NCLL. This season they are 13-2, with both of their losses coming by one goal; 4-3 to James Madison and 5-4 to Syracuse. Their goal is Richmond, VA and if things keep up the way they’ve been going, it looks like Rutgers has a great chance of reaching their goal!
It’s postseason time in the NCLL, and my team and I couldn’t be more excited. We came into the playoffs ranked #4 in the polls with a record of 12-2, which is the most successful regular season our club has ever had. On top of a program best record, we not only won, but swept, the Liberty Division for the first time. As President of the club for the past two years, I am incredibly proud of my players for not only their performance on the field, but their increased commitment to the club.
The past few years have been frustrating for our club, as we have had tremendous talent, but haven fallen short of reaching our potential. During the past fall ball season, I again saw tremendous potential in our players, but what was different about the squad was their committment level. Higher commitment to understanding the offensive & defensive systems we run, higher level of intesity in practice, and higher commitment to improving every day.
In my opinion, the main problem most NCLL clubs run into is falling short of reaching their potential. We’ve competed against teams with tons of talent, but individual talent doesn’t win games. The league isn’t run like the MCLA, there are few programs who have a coach, there is less field time, very little (to no) recruiting, less practices, and we have to carpool to games. NCLL clubs have to overcome obstacles to be successful and their players have to be committed to the club without a coach telling them to be.
One of the league’s most succesful club teams is Penn State. NCLL Polls have the Nittany Lions ranked #1, and they are much deserving of the ranking. If you read the interview LAS Contributer Jimmy Ciccone had with Penn State President Matt Logeman, he attributes most of their success to the commitment of his upperclassmen. Their program has even created a mini video series, where they’re documenting their “Road to the ‘Ship.”
NCLL teams should try to follow Penn State’s model; commitment and chemistry will win games and putting your program out there on Twitter and website’s like LAS and will get people interested in your club. Our club has a twitter (@RutgersClubLax), we use Facebook events to invite fans to games, and we post some of our gear to lacrosse websites like LAS.
As I stated earlier, I think most of our improvement this season is due to the increased commitment the players have shown in our club. Our goal as a team was to win the division and reach the playoff berth, competing for the Championship. That goal has been reached and it’s time that our club focuses on what we’re calling ‘Operation Richmond’ (The host site to NCLL Championship Weekend).
The first test was at home this Tuesday, at 8:45 pm, where we had a re-match against Hofstra, who we beat earlier in the season 8-3. We played well as a team and again, came out victorious, this time 12-3. We have now moved on to the Elite 8 in Richmod, VA, where we will compete against the top teams in our league! Our first game will against Ohio State on Saturday.
There will be more to come from the Rutgers Men’s Lacrosse Club as we continue Operation Richmond!