Texas State lacrosse qualifies for national tournament


Sports Reporter

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As the playoffs neared, the time came for the Texas State lacrosse team to reach its full potential.

Each play mattered more than the last, and the Bobcats were on a six-game winning streak just before the playoffs.

“Throughout the entire season we would say how much we wanted to peak at the right moment,” said Zane Zoda, junior defenseman. “We started off slow and weren’t executing and winning all the games we should’ve, but when it came time for conference and national playoffs, we were playing our best lacrosse.”

Texas State would go on to win the conference championship against Texas, advancing to the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Nationals in Orange County, California. 

“It was awesome to play on a national scale and not only be able to represent Texas State, but Texas as a whole,” Zoda said.

The Bobcats learned a valuable lesson during their first game of the season. Something was not quite right about the game, despite the victory. The focus at the start of the game was not ideal. Texas State immediately addressed the problem.

“Silence really is deadly,” Zoda said. “In lacrosse, a lot of teams come out before games yelling across the field in an attempt to get into our heads.”

For the rest of the season, warm-ups before the game would always be silent. 

Silent warm-ups for the Bobcats allow the team time to focus on their assignments and meditate on the game ahead while also properly preparing their bodies. 

“The LSU game showed us how much our silence affects the other team,” said AJ Anderson, sophomore goalie. “They kept yelling across the field, calling our numbers, trying to get into our heads. Their attempt to get into our heads backfired. Our silence didn’t just allow us to focus. It boggled their minds, trying to figure out why we were so quiet.”  

This year’s motto for the lacrosse team was SYT (Support Your Teammates) due to the inexperience on the roster. 

“First year of college is really tough for freshmen,” said Coach Kyle Saunders. “The older guys on the team really did a great job and took the freshmen under their wings and helped the coaching staff build their confidence. Their confidence transferred onto the field, where we got to see our freshmen excel.” 

Over the course of the season the Bobcats faced Colorado, the defending national champions, Colorado State, whose team has previously won championships, and Virginia Tech, who is highly ranked. “Positive leadership was a big difference-maker this year,” Anderson said.

“As a young team, we realized that we would get knocked down at times, but we had to get up no matter what and our seniors Liam Kelly and Jeremy DiGiovanni helped enforce that mindset.”

During the season, Texas State built a lead in the first half before letting it slip away.

“Finish everything” became the Bobcats’ battle cry. The Bobcats played a three-point game against Virginia Tech, then ranked ninth in the nation.

“At the end of the Virginia Tech game, we knew our freshmen were ready to play, and our team had enough talent, skills, desire and discipline to go very far,” Saunders said.

The team finished 20th in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association with two players selected to the All-American teams.

“We knew that our team was very talented,” Saunders said. “We felt that if we stayed focused on the schemes and skills standpoint and continued to take every opportunity to improve in practice that everything will fall into place and take care of itself.”