WSU men’s club lacrosse rebuilds for upcoming season

A sport as common on the East Coast as soccer, lacrosse is often harder to find on the West Coast. Nestled in the rolling wheat fields, the WSU men’s club lacrosse team has held its ground while pushing for the sport to be recognized by the Pac-12.

A majority of the Division I collegiate teams are located on the East Coast, whereas west coast schools tend to have club lacrosse teams.

“With the recent growth of lacrosse on the West Coast, I hope to see lacrosse become a D-1 sport in the Pac-12 and be able to compete with the teams on the East Coast within 20 years,” said Beau Olson, sophomore WSU men’s club lacrosse midfielder.

Last fall, the team had a tough time getting players to come out since there were a few injuries and had lost key players who had graduated the previous spring.

The team finished with a record of 3-12 last season and is projected to come in last in their division for the spring season. This preseason ranking does not worry the Cougars.

The Cougars added a few more players since then. The team now has 18 players, four more than they had last season.

“We have some inexperience and undersized guys on the team but we have some really good shooters on attack which helps,” team president and goalie Devin Ehli said.

Freshman defensive midfielder Josh Emmy said he joined the team because he played in high school and wanted to keep playing in college.

“My best experience this year so far was getting to know my teammates and beating Central Washington last fall,” Emmy said.

With some new faces on the team this year, the eagerness and talent of the new team members will supplement the players familiar with playing club lacrosse in college.

“Even though we have a young team, we definitely have some talent and hope to go on a good run this year,” Olson said.

The team was also able to find a coach, which was a step forward from the previous season when they played without a coach.

“Last year I played on the team and this year I couldn’t so I decided to coach,” Trent Wellner said.

Wellner previously coached for a high school lacrosse team in the Tri-Cities and credits that experience in aiding his decision to coach the WSU lacrosse team.

While games have not started yet this season, the team is focused and has been practicing hard.

The lacrosse team plays other teams from along the West Coast. It competes in the Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League (PNCLL) against other D-1 schools in Canada, Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

It is not uncommon for the team to play D-2 lacrosse teams around the Pacific Northwest such as University of Puget Sound, Central Washington and Gonzaga.

Olson said he is especially looking forward to the upcoming road trip to California.

“We will be playing USC, UCLA and Claremont on our trip to California. It will be a cool experience, especially for the new guys on the team,” Olson said.

The WSU men’s club lacrosse team faces off against UPS in its season opener this Saturday in Tacoma.

“UPS has two really good attack men that can score without being assisted. They can carry the ball themselves and dodge defenders. Stopping those players from getting the ball or stopping them when they do will be important,” Ehli said.

The team will take their new coach and teammates to Tacoma with a clean slate as they begin their 2016 season.