Tough Losses & New Lessons Learned

The University of Lynchburg fought hard against Tufts at Shellenberger Field, but lost 21-11. Photo retrieved from https://www.lynchburgsports.com/sports/mlax/2021-22/releases/20220322ybje86 on March 26, 2022. 

William Masselli ~ Editor-in-Chief

Recently, the University of Lynchburg Men’s Lacrosse Team has lost to several nationally ranked teams in NCAA DIII Men’s Lacrosse. 

Ryan Kenney, a senior attackman, believes the team will grow from its losses. He said, “I think we all in the locker room know what we need to do to take our game to the next level. As for giving advice, I would say just harping on being really great at doing the simple plays and the fundamentals of the sport. Small mistakes will cost you against a great team. We have not played our best and we need to expect ourselves to do that every time we step on the field.” 

Kenney also noted, “For me, I need to keep shooting the ball. Finding my lane to get shots off and when I do, make sure they go in the back of the net. I think something I have been working on too is stick protection and having a second plan for when my first plan does not go the way it was planned to be. On top of that is just keeping a level head and when I’m shooting well or make a mistake put it behind me and focus on the next play and give it my all.” 

Head Coach Stephen Koudelka is both proud and critical of his team, he said, “We have played the toughest schedule in the country and won some big games and lost a couple of close ones- especially to CNU. We have yet to play our greatest game and that is the ultimate goal..everyone on the field playing their best in the biggest game. If we were to do that, we absolutely will put ourselves in a great spot to compete for the National Championship in late May.” 

Koudelka talked about the importance of his players focusing on the team they are on and not other ODAC teams. He said, “We really worry about Lynchburg. If our team plays their best, we are the best team in the ODAC. We are currently 1-0 in the ODAC with 9 games left. Our expectation is to win each of those games and host the ODAC Championships on Shellenberger Field. We need to play our best to achieve that goal.” 

Koudelka described the regional landscape, saying, “In the South Region, Salisbury and CNU will be the best teams in our region. The best thing is that we have already played them. Did not compete at the level we expect vs. Salisbury and vs. CNU did not play our best for about 20 minutes. The final 40 minutes we won 11-8…we are close with both of those teams and it is March…the best that improves the most over these final 60 days has the best shot on competing for the National Championship.” 

Jack Rokenbrod, a junior and student manager for the Lynchburg Men’s Lacrosse Team, talked about the way he could contribute to the team competing nationally, stating, “I love watching the guys get better. Everyday they all compete against each other at practice and it is enjoyable to watch it pay off on the field. In the fall, Coach Koudelka made all of us take a Strengths Finder Assessment. Based on that assessment, my top strength was positivity so I need to keep the guys upbeat and optimistic because there are a lot of games left and this group is capable of doing some special things.” 

Rokenbrod said, “Night games on Shellenberger Field are unlike anything I have ever experienced. Having the track filled with students makes it such a unique and special atmosphere. Just knowing that all of our peers are cheering us on makes a huge difference. I truly believe that we have the best home field advantage in the country.” 

Kenney agreed with Rokenbrod about code red games, stating, “First night game of the year and it is on Shellenberger Field. Can not ask for a better place to be.” 

If you are interested in attending the University of Lynchburg Men’s Lacrosse games, please visit https://www.lynchburgsports.com/sports/mlax/2021-22/schedule to see a detailed view of the team’s upcoming schedule. 

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