Editor’s Note: Let’s give a huge LaxAllStars welcome to Scott McVicker, the defensive captain of the UNC Charlotte 49ers. The Niners compete in the SELC of the MCLA DII and Scott will be covering the action from the Southeast for us on MCLA Fan this season. Let’s get all caught up with the hottest team in the Queen City!
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The UNC Charlotte Men’s Lacrosse team finished their 2014 fall ball season this past week and have high expectations for their spring season in Division 2 of the MCLA.
Last season, the 49ers earned their first SELC playoff berth in three years after a 7-4 regular season. The 49ers’ year ended after losing in the first round to Reinhardt, who eventually won the SELC championship.
Although it wasn’t the way the Niners wanted to finish the season, the hype and expectations for the 2014-2015 season began immediately. Charlotte graduated three seniors on the team and expected a large turnout of young players for fall ball, and the results did not disappoint.
On the first day of open practice for fall ball, 70 returning and new players showed up to take the field.
After two weeks of practice, a solid squad of 40 men officially became part of the 49ers lacrosse club and were ready to put the work in to become the strongest team in the conference. The number of practices and workouts per week increased, and Coach Drew Tobias kept the intensity up while guiding the Niners through drills.
Last year something that was constantly said was ‘we could’ve beat that team’ or ‘we shouldn’t have lost to them’” said team president Stephen Kuzminski. “Coach Tobias told us if we wanted to win those sort of games, we would have to put the work in to become a great team. And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.
The Niners’ entire offense is returning and has added firepower from freshmen and transfer students. The offense will be anchored by Matt Buening (recent Wolf of the MCLA), a senior midfielder and captain who was first team all-conference last season.
The midfield will have four full lines that will all contribute throughout the season. Mix four lines with endurance and skill?! That’s a combination that no team wants to face. Charlotte also has four FOGOs who all proved themselves dominant throughout the fall, especially Jordan Weaver.
The attack has all returned and around ten players have been competing for starting positions. Leading the attack will be sophomore Josh Ford who had 21 goals last season. Due to all the talent filling up on attack, don’t be surprised to see captain Andrew Beres move up to midfield and prove himself elite at a different position.
With all the hype going on concerning Charlotte’s offense, it’s easy to forget about defense. But the Niners’ defense is not one to take lightly.
Holding down the crease is goalie and captain Alex Bobyarchick, who picked up 37 ground balls and posted a .602 save percentage. LSM’s Stephen Kuzminski and Kevin Heesacker are dominant, and the close defense is extremely deep. I, Scott McVicker, will be captain of the defense, and I send an open invitation to any attackman who thinks he can beat me.
Charlotte’s fall ball was full of getting in shape and mixing lines together to find the best combinations. The team attended the Queen City Shootout in October, which boasted D1, D2 and MLL competition such as Ryan Flanagan and Mike Sawyer from the Charlotte Hounds.
East Carolina University held their annual invitational tournament in November and the Niners faced club teams UNC, James Madison, UVA and Appalachian State. Even without 5 of 6 starters on offense, Charlotte’s depth showed and will be key during the regular season.
Charlotte is ready to be on the map not only in the SELC, but the MCLA. We face a 15 game regular season and our out of conference teams including Briarcliffe, U of M- Dearborn, Lawrence Tech and DePaul.
We’ve put the work in during the fall and will fire on all cylinders come game time.
See you on the field!
Images Courtesy: Charlotte Lacrosse Club