Getting To Know The Missouri Baptist Spartans


We may have only introduced you to the Charlotte 49ers yesterday, but we’re going to go ahead and introduce another team today. The Spartans of Missouri Baptist out of the GRLC.

Head Coach Andy Joly sat down with us recently for the basic Q & A we do with every other team. As you’ll learn, the Spartans are quite a bit different than most MCLA teams.

Coach Joly sent me this as a slight intro: “Just as a Preface to these questions, our University is a member of the NAIA and all of our other athletic teams compete in the NAIA, so when lacrosse was created here 3.5 years ago we were created as a “Varsity Sport” but as you may know NAIA does not sanction lacrosse so it was a no brainer to join the GRLC/MCLA.  Our lacrosse team receives the same benefits and recognition as every other team on campus. Being the Head Coach is my full time job as well, I keep office hours daily, I recruit all year long, and since its my full time job I maintain almost every responsibility the team requires.”

Who sets the schedule for the team and when does this usually take place?  Why do they set the schedule (meaning how are responsibilities divided between players and coaches)?

I set the schedule, I usually reach out to out of conference teams or I receive emails from OOC teams over the summer, that I can have those games set going into our GRLC fall meeting where the rest of my schedule falls into place.  I take full responsibility for our fall and spring schedules.

What goes into putting the perfect schedule for your team?  What are your goals when you try to schedule teams?  Is it just about getting good competition or are scheduling criteria the main driver?

When I think of a perfect schedule I think of having multiple (2-4) Nationally Ranked OOC games to give your program a shot at an At Large Bid. I also like to have my divisional games in April, that way we are mid way through our season our offense has started to gel our defense is on the same page and we’ve already seen some of the best competition the country has to offer. Going forward my main goal for scheduling a season is to prepare my team to play at the National Tournament, the only way to do that is to play the best teams

What are team dues? Are you doing anything to reduce the team dues?  Have you approached the school for any sort of funding?

Team Dues are $0, we are fully funded by our Athletic Department.  We still fundraise each year as the budget we are given is not enough for an entire season.  Money raised goes towards nicer uniforms and gear, bigger trips (St. Paul, MN in 2011), and to budget for a MCLA Tournament trip.

What does the money you do bring in get you?  Where are you really falling short and how can you bridge that gap?

Money raised goes towards nicer uniforms and gear, bigger trips (St. Paul, MN in 2011), and to budget for a MCLA Tournament trip.

What kind of support do you get from your school?  Any plans on trying to increase that support?  How is your relationship with the school in general?

We have FULL support from MBU, in terms of increasing our budget from the school it is my job to grow the size of our program (i.e. bring in more tuition dollars).

Team to look out for in your conference.  Everyone has a big dog (or two, or three!) so who is yours?  Anyone going to make a big jump this year? Why?

I think that everyone expects great things from Missouri State being that they are the 2 time GRLC Champs, I think that the sleeper this year is going to be Judson University, they are another program just like us, full support from their university, full time coach etc.  I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t say to watch out for MBU, after losing 7-5 in our first conference championship we have a big chip on our shoulder, we only graduated 2 seniors, we brought in a big freshman class, and returned a handful of players with All Conference Honors.

Players to look out for in your conference. Why?

Speaking to players on other teams around the GRLC, Offensively I would watch out for Mark Jasper from MSU he put up almost 50 points last year as a junior averaging about 3 points per game.  Look out for Phillip Marcotty attacker from Wash U. had 40 goals last spring and knows how to finish.  Defensively Justin Caper and Mike Queener from MSU, not only are they great defensemen but they both combined for over 140 ground balls last year, look for them to pick up the slack that Kyle Murphy left when he graduated.  I should mention a few of my guys to look out for, offensively we’re returning 2010’s offensive player of the year David Justvig (A) who averaged 3.5 goals per game last year…Ryan Zimmer (A) is our most well rounded attackmen almost scoring equal goals and assists last season totaling over 30 points.  We are also returning first team all conference face-off specialist Ian Brosch who won over 70% of his face-offs in 2010.  Defensively our senior goalie and Ben Hughes averaged just a 6 goals against and 11 saves per game average last season, he’s going to be the goalie to beat in the GRLC this year.

Biggest game on your schedule right now?  If its your first game, does that play into your mentality for each game?  If its not your first game, its fair to look ahead, why this one game?

The biggest game for us will always be Missouri State (April 16) we have quickly developed a heated rivalry in just 3 years.  But aside from that I think its ok to look ahead to our game vs. U. of Dayton (#3), we hosted this past fall, it was a close game the whole way but they put two goals past us late in the fourth and won 6-5, I think we are all looking for another chance for a win when it counts March 12 (plus the notoriety of beating one of the best teams in the country isn’t bad either…) March 12 isn’t that far away and we are doing our best to use our first 4 games to prepare for the Flyers.

What is the game, that you arent a part of, you are looking forward to the most?  Hoping for an upset?  Looking to see how good someone else really is?

Besides the games that involved the teams in the top ten or last year’s final four re-matches, The games I’m looking forward to the most are the games I will see in person in St. Paul, MN April 8-10.  St. Thomas, Dayton, Davenport, St. Johns. NDSU, MBU, MO State, St. Olaf, and Northern Colorado will all be there matching up against one another it sure to be an exciting weekend.

To finish things off, let us just say that you should be seeing a lot more of the Spartans this year

[Images provided courtesy Missouri Baptist Athletics]

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Hilsgen is a former MCLA D2 defender. After his playing career ended, he turned to the sidelines where he was briefly on staff at UNCG. Now, he's a nomadic lacrosse fan, looking for his next coaching and playing opportunity.