Young Hawks hunt for a playoff run

Freshman attacker Tim Mullane will be a key player for the Hawks in the CCC tourney.

Andrew Hart & Megan Julian, Herald Contributors

This past Saturday, April 21, the Roger Williams University men’s lacrosse team wrapped up their regular season with a 12-5 win over Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. The Hawks now turn their attention to a new season, the playoffs, where they will compete for a Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship and a hopeful N.C.A.A. Tournament berth.

The Hawks finished the year out 8-7, with a 4-4 record in conference play, placing them as the sixth seed of the conference where they will match up with third-seeded Curry College (10-5, 5-3 CCC). Strikingly, the Hawks matched up with Curry in the 2017 conference tournament as a No. 4 seed, but lost 10-8 at home.

To start their season, the Hawks had 18 returning players this year: four seniors, seven juniors, and nine sophomores. The team welcomed 17 freshmen making them a younger team, but they were still hungry for success.

Last year, the team ended the season with a 9-8 record including both CCC and non-conference games. 

This year, the team has a lot of young, new faces, but came together to get just over the .500 mark again. In 2018, the team had to make some adjustments with gaining a lot of new players and finding the chemistry. The team also had one of their best players, senior Eddie Hill, fall to an injury that kept him out for the whole season. This was when everyone on the team knew they had to step up, and that is exactly what freshman Peter Navarro did.

“I definitely stepped up being a freshman,” Navarro said. “I feel like I stepped into a big role and I did a decent job helping out the team and putting points on the board.”

Jude Marzec, a returning sophomore attackman, also said the team stepped up this season.  

“When we step onto the turf, we leave everything on the field giving 110 percent, games and practices included,” Marzec said.

While the Hawks are happy they accomplished their goal of making the postseason, it didn’t come without facing some obstacles. Marzec acknowledged some factors that he felt the team struggled with, including their overall inexperience.

“Being a heavily based freshman/sophomore team, we lack the wisdom of more experienced upperclassmen,” Marzec said.

With the postseason upon them, it is easy to forget the adjustment to the new type of atmosphere. In an atmosphere where everything is on the line and it is win or go home, it may be tough for freshmen to adapt to the environment. However, that is why the upperclassmen have been grooming them for this moment. 

“There’s always nerves with every game we play,” said Jared Grier, a freshman attacker who has started all 15 games this season. “The nerves are what add to the high intensity of lacrosse. We’ve been working really hard all season in pursuit of making the playoffs. We completed the first goal, but now we have to step up when it really matters.”

Definitely one thing Grier has noticed as the playoffs edge closer is the team’s intensity during practice, which he attributes to the coaching staffs’ message. 

“The conference is wide open this year, and we all know that,” he said. “Our coaches and captains have been hammering that into our heads. Practices have had way more intensity lately. You never know how much longer you’re going to be able to play with such a great group of guys, so every time we touch the field has to be cherished.” 

As April 28 edges closer and the playoff fever starts to max out, the Hawks will remain poised and ready to weather the storm. The Hawks are not here to settle for a playoff berth; they are here to make some noise.