Editor’s note: We’re back with another installment of our Wolf of the MCLA series! Thanks to the support of Wolf Athletics, we’re selecting, interviewing, and honoring impressive student-athletes who are competing in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association throughout the 2015 college lacrosse season. Each new member of the “Wolf Pack” will receive a Ghost shaft as an award for his accomplishments. We hope you enjoy![mks_separator style=”solid” height=”4″]
Leading his team to a flawless 5-0 start for 2015, the next Wolf of the MCLA to join The Pack is converted defenseman and Golden Gopher captain, Steve Van Sloun.
This 6’4”, 215 lbs Senior is a Chapman transfer that returned home to Minnesota to dominate the UMLC for the past couple seasons. Now in his 4th year, Steve has big plans to lead his teammates to the MCLA tournament in SoCal.
Gladly taking the weight of the season on his shoulders, Steve cut down the long pole and took his services to the midfield to help lead his own pack to what is hopefully the best season in Minnesota lacrosse history. The big man has already punched in 5 goals in 5 games, I’d say it’s safe to say that this Wolf is ready to attack the rest of the season.[mks_separator style=”solid” height=”4″]
Steve Van Sloun – Wolf of the MCLA
Full Name: Steve Van Sloun
Key Stats: 2014 UMLC 1st Team All-Conference Defense
College: Minnesota (MCLA Division I)
High School: Bloomington-Kennedy High School (MN)
LAS: When you aren’t playing lacrosse, what are your hobbies off of the field?
Van Sloun: I enjoy spending time with my two cats, Corey and Trevor. I like spending time with friends and family as well. We have some very intense NHL games between some of our teammates. I also like to make it out to the golf course when possible, weather permitting.
Do you play any other sports?
In high school, I played on our school’s table tennis team, and played basketball and football for a few years. Currently, I am preparing for an upcoming intramural softball season.
Favorite shoes in your collection?
I would have to say my white Nike Free Trainer 5.0s.
What’s your idea of a perfect meal?
I am a big fan of my mom’s cooking and my dad’s grilling. Being away from home, you really learn to appreciate the little things that your parents use to do for you. As far as favorite types of food, I enjoy Italian food. For a specific place, there is a wonderful Italian restaurant on campus my the name of Vescio’s.
What’s your main source of transportation?
2007 Honda Metropolitan Scooter. It has wonderful gas mileage, and there is free moped parking on campus. When I need to go a bit further, I have a luxurious 2001 Buick LeSabre.
What is your pre-game ritual (if any)?
I like to get a good meal in the night before a game. On game day, I like to wake up early to get ready to play. I like to get to the field early and listen to music and pass the ball around. I take some time to get mentally prepared for the upcoming game.
What is one thing you wish the world would understand about lacrosse?
I wish the world would understand the way the game is played. I think many causal viewers do not get into lacrosse because they don’t understand why teams do things the way they do. I think that the sport will grow in popularity as more people become familiar with that.
Do you consider yourself a lone wolf, leader of the pack, or committed teammate?
I would consider myself a committed teammate. I think it is very important to have a team first mentality in order to have success at any level, and it is particularly important in the MCLA. I am privileged to be on a team with so many players who are committed teammates.
How many years have you been playing lacrosse and where did you find your start?
This is my 10th year playing lacrosse. I started in 7th grade when a close friend and current teammate Griffin Clements convince me to give up baseball to play lacrosse. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.
What made you choose to go to play lacrosse at Minnesota?
I had a pretty unique college selection process. Fall of my freshman year, I was enrolled at Minnesota. For the spring, I transferred to Chapman University and played my freshman season there. I have nothing but good things to say about that program, but ended up transferring back to Minnesota the next fall.
That season, Rich Limpert took over as the head coach. Minnesota has a great combination of top academic programs as well as offering a competitive lacrosse program. Many students also have great opportunities after graduation.
Along with those two aspects, it is close to home, and a very affordable school.
Can you tell us the story about your only goal last year?
We were playing Purdue, and had just played a lengthy possession on defense. I brought the ball over in a clear and looked to get a touch in the box and to slow the ball down to give our defense a break.
There was a miscommunication on their defense and no one picked me up, so I ended up with a clear lane to the goal.
What are the goals you’ve set for yourself and for your team in 2015?
We definitely feel that we can be a tournament team. With the changes to the UMLC this year, we are required to receive an at-large selection.
We have a schedule that gives us opportunities to play top teams and earn an invitation to nationals in May.
We have a team first mentality and a great amount of depth at every position. We have made some changes to our coaching staff that have really helped influence our team in a positive direction. This fall, we really started playing more for each other and less for ourselves. Our coaches have done a great job of building a culture of success.
As one of the backbones of the Gopher defense, how do you plan to help lead the team in 2015?
This offseason I was converted to a midfielder. The biggest thing I can do to help the defense is to give feedback and encouragement to the defensemen. Playing against some of them in practice, I am able to see things differently and help make corrections.
We have two terrific goalies who are vocal leaders and very smart players who we are able to relay on as well. We are fortune to have many athletic defensemen that will see quality time in games.[mks_separator style=”solid” height=”4″]
Congratulations to Steve, and a special thanks to Coach Limpert and the University of Minnesota Gophers for nominating him as our latest Wolf of the MCLA!