This upcoming 2020 season will see some new NAIA lacrosse programs come join the ranks. We’re taking a look at how each of their seasons will shape up.
New NAIA Lacrosse Programs: Season Preview
Mount Vernon Nazarene University
With a brand new(ish) program, there are so many unknowns. Here’s what we do know: Mount Vernon Nazarene University looks to start their first NAIA season in 2019-20. They had a club season in 2018 with a roster of 15 players. With none of the players from last year listed as seniors, we can only guess that they are all returning. A large recruiting class of around 26 players means that the program should have 35-40 players this year, leaving room for some club attrition. The athletic department is a member of the NAIA crossroads league, which doesn’t sponsor lacrosse, leading me to assume they will be an independent this year.
2020 Projection: A team of mostly freshmen, without a conference, it will be a trying year with some surprise victories I’m sure.
Midland University has a brand new program with a reported 20 or so players. The Warriors should find some early success but it won’t be in the KCAC where competition is tough. I think they manage one conference win in their first year.
William Penn University
The Statesman have a reported 30 players coming to campus in 2019. I have a hard time predicting a brand new team with no experience together and limited maturity having much early success. That being said, given the number of recruits and the quality of some of those recruits, I wouldn’t be surprised if William Penn University goes above .500 in its first year with a trip to nationals within three years.
Very limited press means I have nothing to say. I hope the Mustangs first year goes well. I’m sure that as the year moves on we will have more information and more opinions to discuss.
After a yearlong hiatus, much is to be seen this year from the revamped Knights program. The team now boasts a roster of 29, so it appears the worst is behind them. A relatively soft non-conference schedule should help the Knights find their groove before what will surely be a tough conference schedule. I expect St. Andrews to go through some growing pains — they have 22 freshmen — this year, but they will experience some early success. Don’t be surprised if the Knights pull off two conference wins this year, especially if Union fields a team. A strong year will provide a fantastic foundation for the future.
Cleary University/Union College
Quite frankly we don’t know for sure if either of these teams will return this year. They both shut down their teams last year as they looked for coaches. Both programs have had a revolving door at head coach. If they are able to field a team, don’t expect much as even before the hiatus both teams had very little success. Cleary University has since joined the WHAC —the nations deepest conference — which provides a tough challenge for any school, especially a rebuilding one.