Men’s lacrosse alumni, current players clash on field, reconcile at tailgate party
Building bridges and facilitating fellowship between Liberty University’s current men’s lacrosse players and alumni were the primary objectives of Friday night’s alumni game played at the Liberty Lacrosse Fields as well as the post-game tailgate gathering.
“We had about 30 guys show up to play and participate so it was a good turnout, a fun event, and it continued the trend of being a pretty competitive game,” said Flames Head Coach Kyle McQuillan, who helped officiate the contest, won by the alumni team, 11-10, on a last-second goal by former attack Chris Armstrong (’15). “An overwhelming number of the alumni were guys who have played in the past four or five years.”
A few other alumni showed up, but opted not to play as they had not maintained game-day conditioning.
“We made sure (Assistant Coach) Jessi (Glauser) ran them all through some pre-game stretching and warmups,” McQuillan said. “We tried to take it easy because while it was competitive, the game is supposed to be for fun. The big reason for putting this event on was just getting guys back in town together and I hope they took advantage of the rest of the events over Homecoming Weekend.”
Liberty’s current players served through the Athletics department with the teardown of the Flames Fan Fest in the Liberty Indoor Practice Facility before the start of the football game against Middle Tennessee while many of the alumni took part in tailgate activities around Williams Stadium.
Ryan Miller (’16), Liberty’s all-time-leading scorer who now serves on the Flames’ staff as offensive coordinator, and his younger brother Jackson, who graduated this past May, accounted for four goals between them.
“For a lot of the young guys on this year’s team, it was good for them to see guys who have come before them and to see the level of lacrosse we have been able to sustain for the past couple of years,” said McQuillan, who did level the playing field a bit by allowing the alumni team to use graduate goalie Ryan Reynolds for the entire second half.
“We have Reynolds back for another year and he was the best advantage the alumni team had,” McQuillan said. “They didn’t have anybody that had played goalie at Liberty in the past and standing in the cage would brave position for an alumnus to play (without previous experience).”
Reynolds started and played the entire first half between the pipes for the Flames current roster before junior Noah Kurtz and freshman Aiden Miller split time in the second half after Kurtz played the first half for the alumni team.
McQuillan also was particularly hard on his current players with his officiating.
“I continued to not be a very fair official and definitely gave the alumni some breaks, for their benefit,” he said. “I was still very impressed with their ability to keep the game close and be competitive.”
The Flames will open 2021-22 fall season play this Saturday in Farmville with scrimmages against NCAA Division III Hampden-Sydney at 1 p.m. and NCAA DII Queens (N.C.) University at 3 p.m. before concluding the semester with games against Atlantic Lacrosse Conference (ALC) rivals George Washington on Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. and Virginia Tech on Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Liberty Lacrosse Fields.
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer