ReLAXing with the New Lacrosse Team
There are many new and exciting changes to Maryville this fall, but the one that specifically brought 30 students to campus is the addition of the men’s lacrosse team to athletics. “Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the country,” Marcus Manning, vice president for athletics and recreation, said. “Adding lacrosse has opened up recruitment opportunities in various parts of the country and beyond that weren’t there before.”
The team will play in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) with other Division II teams as far as Colorado and Utah. “The university hopes that the student athletes have a great collegiate experience representing Maryville and playing in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference,” Manning said.
The team’s fearless leader, Head Coach Phillip Newton, was hired last year to lead the team in their first season. Newton was previously an assistant coach at Limestone College in 2015, where he helped the team win the NCAA DII National Championship.
As head coach here, Newton has already worked tirelessly during the 2015-2016 academic year to recruit a team of players from across the country and into Canada. “Anytime you are putting a team together and trying to get guys on the field, finding the right fit culturally and chemistry-wise is important.
Alongside Coach Newton are assistant coaches, Mitchell Shafer and Blake Neal were hired to help in this inaugural season. Both assistants have extensive experience playing as well as experience on championship teams. “We are fortunate to have a great staff,” Newton said. When asked about his assistants, he added, “They are young, they are hungry and they are more than qualified. They are guys that are going to make us better and are guys that want to do this for the rest of their lives. The types of guys that you want in your program and around your guys.”
Newton expressed that as a coaching staff they have instilled a motto among the team, “Win the day.” This motto means the coaches want to have a positive impact on the team, they want the teammates to have a positive impact on each other, as well as the community. He says they are, “Great guys that strive to be better every day and make a difference out in the community.”
Coach Newton also disclosed that the team will be launching a “Lacrosse 101” course for Maryville students to teach the essentials of lacrosse later this semester. The course will help students to get to know with the team, coaching staff and the game itself. Newton hopes that the course will help students to have a better understanding of the game, as well as get them excited for the season as it quickly approaches.
Starting a new season is exciting, and Tristan Snellgrove, junior, cannot wait to show the Maryville community what lacrosse is all about. According to Snellgrove the team “really jells together,” and he is “excited to start a new program with all of the guys.” His hopes for the season include starting off strong and “getting to the automatic championship game and coming away with a win.” Snellgrove describes lacrosse as a mix between football, hockey and soccer, with the defensive and offensive schemes of basketball. “We hope that the community supports the team, just as we will support the other teams throughout the year,” Snellgrove said.
All photos courtesy of Jordan Coker.