The Sacred Heart University (SHU) men’s lacrosse team defeated Virginia Military Institute (VMI) on March 25 by a score of 16-4. This win marked their first conference win of the season for the Pioneers after joining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).
“Honestly it feels amazing,” said junior Morgan O’Reilly. “It’s a great confidence booster for the team going forward into conference play.”
Prior to this win, SHU got off to a rough start to the season with a record of 0-7. While just two of those losses were in conference play, the team was eager to grab their first win in their new conference.
“It definitely takes some weight off everyone’s shoulders,” said junior goalkeeper Alex Pazienza. “It’s something that we all feel was overdue. We are now looking to carry the momentum over into the coming weeks of conference play.”
After not seeing the results they had wanted, the men began changing a few things during practice to try and get back on the winning track. They have gone back to sticking with the basics and trying to keep things similar to their past success.
“Keeping things simple and playing within ourselves as a unit has translated to some better lacrosse over the past few weeks,” said Pazienza.
The men want to build a winning culture in the men’s lacrosse program here at Sacred Heart, but that is not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of time and hard work not only from the coaching staff, but from all players.
“The culture of the team has been the most important thing to us thus far,” said O’Reilly. “Winning is great, but at the end of the day the culture of our team is the true rock of our team. Our culture is courage, grit and resolve and we truly try to embody that everyday.”
One thing that the team prides themselves on is their camaraderie and their friendships.
“The team’s friendships and relationships together are unbreakable,” said O’Reilly. “Our team has done a great job to get to know the freshmen and make sure everybody hangs out together. It always helps tremendously that we are always together playing or even outside lacrosse just hanging around.”
The men grabbed their second conference win on April 1 against Long Island University. They look to continue their winning ways as they head to Staten Island on April 8 to face Wagner College.
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.