By Matt Noonan
CHESNUT HILL, MA – The Wheelock College [0-5] men’s lacrosse season began with an excruciating loss to Anna Maria College, as the AMCATS beats the Wildcats, 18-1. Wheelock would then go onto lose their next two regular season contests by a combined score of 44-3.
“We understand what we’re up against this year. It’s a first year program and there are going to be some games where we’re outmatched,” said Wheelock head coach Dan Lee.
“With a first year program and with a game like this it’s very easy for guys to get down on each other, but I don’t see that happening. We come out together and we leave together,” said Wheelock’s Kevin Kareckas.
While this may or may not have been the way that the Wildcats men’s lacrosse team thought they would begin their inaugural season, surely, they have come to realize that every day they’re going to be faced with adversity. A major issue that Lee and his assistant coach, Chris Demarest are facing is majority of their players are inexperienced or have never held a lacrosse stick in their life.
“Our problem is we’re so inexperienced,” said Lee. “We have a bunch of guys who haven’t played the game before and besides practice, they don’t have any game experience.”
“Even in games where we’re down by a bunch of goals, we’re still trying to work on things for situational lacrosse, [especially] when we are in close games.”
Indeed, Lee has a lot of tutelage to bestow upon his young squad, but despite taking a winless record into Wednesday’s contests against Daniel Webster [2-1], the Wildcats would once again lose to yet another opponent by a score of 17-3.
“It was a disappointing loss,” said Lee. “Daniel Webster was a team that we felt that we matched up well with and [they’re] a small school, just like us, [a] young program [and] it’s a game that we thought we could compete in and win.”
“We had some mental errors and came out flat today, but every game for us, [we] build on and as long as we come out for our next game and our next practices and actually work harder and improve on what we [messed] up on today. I think we can learn a lot from this [loss],” said Wheelock’s Michael Manning.
The Wildcats began the game by attempting to stop the Eagles on defense, but eventually, Daniel Webster’s offense clicked and Kieran Kavanaugh recorded an unassisted goal.
After the Eagles first points were marked on the scoreboard, they then began adding more goals on offense, which clearly seemed to demoralize some of the Wheelock players. The Wildcats eventually resorted to playing a physical style of lacrosse, which resulted in 11 penalties.
Although during the final three minutes of the second quarter, Wheelock eventually recorded two quick goals, which certainly electrified the bench, as well as the Wildcats fan base. Both Zach Bushway and Kevin Kareckas scored, but the comeback feeling was short lived, as the Eagles would then tack on an additional nine points during the second half, which secured their second win of the season.
“It’s been like this all year. We have [moments] where we play really well for five, six minutes and we score some goals and we shut them down on defense and then it’s [either] we get tired because we have such low numbers,” said Lee.
While their fifth loss may indeed hurt, it certainly seems that every game thus far has allowed this young squad to continue to grow as a team, but also, constantly learn from their mistakes.
“As we grow and as we get more comfortable with each other and we can have a better team atmosphere, we’ll be able to hold that in, make it through an entire game,” said Manning.
Eventually, Wheelock will earn a victory, whether it is this season or next year. It will come eventually and when it does, it will clearly be something that the Wildcats will rejoice.
“If we can get a win, it would be great for this program. The kids are improving every day and that will come in time. We’re just looking and trying to win each quarter and if we put four quarters together then it will work out for us,” said Lee.