The NMU men’s club lacrosse team will launch its season opener in the Superior Dome against the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Blugolds (UW-EC) and the Northwood University Timberwolves on Saturday, Feb. 5.
The annual NMU Lacrosse Tournament will include the only home games for the Wildcats this season. The event is free, and will include a 50/50 raffle for a cash prize and lacrosse gear.
An experienced defense and a lot of new talent on the offensive side of the field will be key factors in the tournament this weekend, said head coach Matt Glenn, who is in his second year as head coach.
“We’re looking pretty good so far. We’ve got a lot of new additions, along with a good core of seniors on defense,” Glenn said.
Glenn, unlike many other coaches in the conference, is still currently a student at NMU, something that can be a struggle at times, he said.
“It can be hard to get everyone on the same page. It can be a pretty major setback as you build respect,” Glenn said.
Getting used to turf play may be another challenge faced by the team, who has only been able to practice once on the Superior Dome’s turf.
“We would like to see more of the turf, but it’s understandable. We’re just grateful for the time we get in the dome,” Glenn said.
For Nick Johnson, a senior defenseman and the president of NMU’s lacrosse club, team chemistry will be one of the determining factors in the Wildcats’ success this season.
“The camaraderie on the team has been a lot closer than in past years. Every year our freshman class gets bigger,” he said.
Having a large indoor facility to practice inside is a major advantage, Johnson said. NMU will be providing the funds to secure the Superior Dome for the tournament.
“The school gives us a ton of support. They help out a lot with funding,” he said.
Last year, the wildcats swept the tournament, including a victory against UW-EC, who will be returning this year.
“(UW-EC) will be our biggest fight. With them, it’s always a fight,” Johnson said.
NMU will also play against Northwood University, a team that is new to the tournament and to the CCLA division II, of which NMU is a part.
“We played them in the fall two years ago, but they’ve improved since then. It should hopefully be a good game,” Johnson said.
Johnson will join senior defenseman Mike Glenn, midfielder Adam Jolcover and goaltender Kevin Sande, who will be playing their last home games in a Wildcats jersey.
Sande, who was ranked among the top 10 goaltenders in the MCLA division II, said he is anxious about his last game in the dome.
“I’m nervous. I really don’t want to lose at home. It’s been a good four years. I wouldn’t trade them for anything; we’ve been through a lot as a team,” Sande said.
Though the team went 4-5 overall last season, Sande expects to break .500 this season, a hope shared by coach Matt Glenn.
“I believe that we have the talent to really impress some people this season. We should have a very impressive program in the years to come,” Glenn said.