Liberty Men’s Lacrosse Alumni Return To Play Against (And Beat) Current Team
On a cool evening Oct. 8, former lacrosse players for Liberty’s lacrosse team went head-to-head with the current club team as part of the homecoming weekend. Although the younger lacrosse team initially built a substantial lead, the alumni dug deep and battled back to win the match as the closing buzzer sounded.
Head Coach Kyle McQuillan oversaw the match and enjoyed watching the alumni on the field.
“It’s just an opportunity for us to bring alumni back and try to keep them involved in the program,” McQuillan said. “It’s obviously super important to give them the ability to come back and to see the new team. They’ve been a big part of us building this team, so any excuse to get them back on campus and give them the opportunity to pick up a stick again is worthwhile.”
Although the game was, on paper, a scrimmage against alumni, it had competitive energy throughout the night. Three hundred fans attended the match and cheered for their friends and family members on the field as players attempted to score as many points as possible. When the game was over, 21 combined points had been scored.
In the first quarter, with the teams dubbed as “new” and “old” on the scoreboard, the current LAX players began with a roaring start by scoring three unanswered goals in five minutes. As the second quarter began with the current players up 5-1, the alumni began to turn the game around by stringing together four unanswered goals and holding the younger players scoreless for the entire quarter. In the third quarter, the current players went on a four-goal run and held the alumni to one goal.
The lead for the current players did not last long in the final quarter as the alumni rallied quickly to tie the game at 9-9. Eventually, both teams would score again to tie the game at 10 points. With less than 10 seconds left in the game, one of the current lacrosse players turned the ball over to an alumnus, who ran the length of the field and passed the ball ahead to his teammate, who would quickly score the winning goal of the game 11-10.
Players from both teams congratulated each other for a game well played and, after a group prayer on the field, gathered with fans to catch up over food brought by a family in attendance. Liberty graduate and former men’s lacrosse player Ian White (class of 2019) thoroughly enjoyed playing lacrosse again at his former school.
“It was awesome,” White said. “I got to see some guys that I haven’t seen in a year or two, especially with COVID. It’s great to reconnect, catch up on life and just remember the brotherhood that I had here.”
The Liberty club men’s lacrosse team has been in existence since 2011 after having an on-again-off-again team since the late 70s. About 32 alumni suited up for the game, including one who played for Liberty’s lacrosse team in the 80s and 90s. The matchup was the men’s lacrosse team’s first time this year playing against another team, and McQuillan is optimistic for the upcoming season.
“I think we’re just as strong as we were last year,” McQuillan said. “We’re a little bit young in some areas, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but offensively I think we’re going to continue to be a team that can put up 15 to 17 points on average a game. It’s still early, and we’re still trying to figure out our identity, but we plan on winning our conference again this upcoming season and making a strong run at a national championship.”
The Liberty men’s lacrosse team plays its first actual game of the season against Hampton-Sydney College Oct.16.
Satterthwaite is a sports reporter.