Dan Pavlik, Campus Carrier Asst. Sports Editor
|Bailey Albertson | CAMPUS CARRIER|
reshman Evan Sale, left, and junior Bailey Martin battle for a ground ball during practice in preparation for Senior Day on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Sewanee.
The end of an exciting season is approaching for the men’s lacrosse team. They are 9-3, and currently sit in second place in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Conference.
A high-powered offense paired with an efficient defense has been the Vikings’ secret formula this year. The offense is putting up an average of 15 goals per game and has only scored below double digits twice, resulting in an offensive onslaught of 180 goals on 120 assists.
Sophomore attackman Chris Berchock currently has a SAA leading 41 goals. The next closest player has 26. Head Coach Curtis Gilbert spoke about the spark Berchock gives the Vikings.
“He’s a squirrel,” Gilbert said. “He has lightning quick hands and can play anywhere on the offensive end with relentless energy.”
The defense has also stood strong, only allowing an average of eight goals a game. This has given the offense more cushion room and kept pressure off goal scorers. The defense does more than stop goals however; it is their job to relay the ball to the offense after a turnover or change of possession. When the offense moves the ball into the opponent’s zone, the stat is called a clear. The Vikings have successfully cleared the zone on 87 percent of their attempts this season, and have also caused 122 total turnovers.
Of course, a defense would be nothing without somebody brave enough to stand between a lacrosse ball hurled 80 mph at their face and the goal. On opening day, starting goaltender Kevin Murphy gave insight into his unique position.
“It takes a certain type of crazy to be a goalie,” Murphy said. “I have bruises everywhere from blocking shots and I usually leave practice pretty sore. But I still wouldn’t change my position for the world.”
The lacrosse team is a tight knit group on and off the field. Their sense of community is a key reason they click so well on the field. These ideals have been passed down from generations of Berry lacrosse players, starting with the seniors.
“It wasn’t even our first official practice yet and guys were already butting heads,” Murphy said. “That really woke me up and set the standard for practice.”
Freshman Evan Sale wasn’t quite sure what he was getting into in his first year of college lacrosse, but he did shed some light on his new lacrosse brethren.
“I knew that it would be a whole lot different and I didn’t know anyone at all coming in,” Sale said. “But the seniors created a brotherhood with all of us from day one. They made it clear that everyone has a different role on the team whether you’re playing or not, and everybody has really bought in.”
Senior Day will take place on Pearson Field on Saturday at
1 p.m. against Sewanee University. Pearson Field was the home field for the lacrosse team before Valhalla was built.
“Way back before we had the stadium, these seniors used to line Pearson Field themselves on game day,” Gilbert said. “We really want to send them out on a high note.”