Unknown to unstoppable

By The Beacon | April 3, 2013 9:00pm

Despite being a club team and unknown to many on campus, the men’s lacrosse team has beaten high-ranked competition to produce an 8-1 season record as they hope to compete in the Nationals

Sophomore midfielder Nolan Ripple throws in a shot on goal against cross-city rival Portland State. De- spite not being an NCAA program, the Pilots beat PSU handily 12-6 on Feb. 2. (Photograph courtesy of Caroline Pisani)

By Katie Dunn, Staff Writer dunn16@up.edu

One of the best-kept sports secrets at UP is the men's lacrosse team. With the 2013 season wrapping up, the team hopes to take its strong 8-1 season far into the postseason in the National Championship in South Carolina.

"We were second place the last two years, so we're trying to break through and make it to Nationals," senior midfielder Matt Timm said.

The team is not an NCAA program, so it has to operate in another league with over 200 other teams. The Pilots play as a Division II team in the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) and are part of the Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League. Southern Oregon University, Whitworth, Western Oregon University and the College of Idaho are in their league.

The Pilots have earned a No. 19 ranking in the MCLA poll. There are three ranked teams in their schedule. One being No. 4 Concordia, their only loss of the season, another being their most recent win, No. 25 Western Washington. They will also play No. 14 Western Oregon on April 13.

The 2012 season gained recognition for the team and awards for some players. Four made the All-Conference team, two received honorable mention for All-American Honors and senior goalie Mike Henry was named MVP of the league.

Senior attacker Ian McAnnis-Entenman leads the team in goals with 38 and sophomore attacker Riley Walsh leads in assists with 14. Henry, the team's starting goalie, has a .607 save percentage and 85 saves. These players have helped the Pilots win many close games.

"We play when it counts and when it matters, we come through," Timm said.

Their impressive record and recent history are even more of an accomplishment considering the conditions they have to play under. 9:45 p.m. practice times and limited resources put a serious strain on the amount of work the team can do to prepare each week. Funding also raises a big issue when the team needs uniforms and has to travel to play.

"We're not an NCAA sport, so we have to come up with a lot of funds ourselves and then ASUP helps an immense amount," Timm said.

Men's lacrosse receives more money from ASUP than any other club, which they need in order to stay alive and playing. The team has to wait behind NCAA sports and intramurals for practice times.

Not being an NCAA sport can have some advantages coupled with the problems they encounter.

"It takes a lot of the pressure off," senior midfielder Bill Michielsen said. "It's much more low-key."

The lack of formality adds to the closeness of the team. Playing a sport that is a choice and not paid for by anything other than the players and ASUP means real dedication and commitment.

"It's a good outlet for me and everybody else to not do school for a little while," Michielsen said.

The team works hard to get as far as it can every year. In the past two post seasons, rival Western Oregon, who is 5-4 this season, has stopped the Pilots in the finals. They face the Pilots April 13 in Salem. Finishing the season with a few more wins could be just what the Pilots need to win the league title go to Nationals. The next home game will be April 14 against the College of Idaho on Prusynski Field at noon.