The Missouri State lacrosse team is heading to Orange County.
The lacrosse Bears punched their automatic bid for the MCLA DII National Tournament this Saturday, beating Creighton 12-6 this past Sunday.
For head coach Dustin Rich the win was proof of hard work paying off.
“It was great. For our alumni, for our fans, for our parents, for the university,” Rich said. “The most gratifying thing was winning for the players. That’s what drives me as a coach, helping these young men work hard at something, and to see them reach one of their big goals for the year, it was awesome.”
Hard work has certainly paid off for a Bears team that was knocked out in the first round last year to an overwhelming Robert Morris-Illinois team.
The win was a continuation of the lacrosse team’s dynamic offense led by GRLC Offensive Player of the Year, Junior attackman Tim Harvatin.
Harvatin scored two goals for the Bears, as junior midfielder Monte Bordeaux netted four goals for his squad.
Along with them, senior midfielder Austin Todd got his hat trick, while redshirt transfer midfielder Justice Greenberger scored two goals, and junior midfielder Cam Sherron put one on the board to make it a dozen total for the Bears.
Rich knew what to expect from the Blue Jays, having previously beaten them 11-1 in an earlier game on April 2.
“We had a good idea what to expect from Creighton. We didn’t really change much,” Rich said. “Todd played with a pulled hamstring, so we put him on the crease. Overall I think we played well. I thought Creighton played a better team game than they did in April.”
They’re winners of their last seven games and finished their conference slate unbeaten and allowing a .5 goal per game average in conference play.
The Bears were also dominating in conference individual play this year, snagging 13 of a possible 28 All-Conference Honors.
After this win, the Bears are packing up and heading out to California for the MCLA tournament. The team has started a GoFundMe on their twitter for fundraising support for the trip. You can find it on their Twitter, @MoStateLax.
But the team won’t be basking in any California sun just yet.
Their first opponent in Orange County? Defending National Champions St. Thomas (12-2), averaging 12.6 goals a game.
Despite the Bears being a 16 seed, Rich thinks his team is ready.
“Our philosophy doesn’t change based on the opponents. My job is to prepare them for that every day,” Rich said. “In 2009 we played the defending national champs, and lost in a 1 goal game. We’re ready for this opportunity.”
Their opening round match is scheduled for Monday, May 8, at 11 a.m.
The red-hot Missouri State lacrosse team (8-6) is now riding on a four-game winning streak after sweeping their matches this weekend at Allison North Stadium.
This weekend sweep puts Missouri State in first place in the Great Rivers Lacrosse Conference Division II.
Coming into the weekend, the Bears have been putting on a clinic against their conference opponents. They have yet to lose a conference game this season.
The first match of the weekend was on Friday evening against their conference opponent Washington University - St. Louis (2-3), and the Bears dominated from the get go. The final score was a staggering 29-1.
The Missouri State offense has really been the story during this four-game winning streak. They have outscored their opponents 70-3.
Bears head coach Dustin Rich, has been very impressed by the way his offense has been producing.
“It is definitely good to have an offense like this,” Rich said. “We have not had an offense that has been this talented, in a few years …
“Especially when these guys really start clicking, we play really, really good lacrosse.”
The second game that clinched the weekend sweep for the Bears, came on Sunday morning against their conference opponent, in the form of the Creighton Blue Jays (2-3). The final score was 11-1.
The sun was peaking through the clouds as the Bears came out of the gates firing, scoring twice in the first quarter.
But they did not let up on the Blue Jays; during the second quarter the Bears were able tally three more goals, making it 5-0 at the half.
The Bears were not done there, as they were able to score three goals in each of the next two quarters.
“The offense did very well today,” Bears’ redshirt freshman Justice Greenberger said. “We started off a little rough by trying to force some things, but then we really started clicking.
“We took advantages of some fast breaks and put those goals in the back of the net,” Greenberger said.
Greenberger was one of three players on Sunday that scored two goals.
The middle infielder said it felt pretty good to get those points on the board, but they are all about the team and trying to get that team win; he was just trying to do his part.
Not only has the offense of this team been sensational, but the defense has been sensational as well during this four-game winning streak.
Over the past four games the opponents have only scored three goals against Missouri State.
“A defense like this is great to have,” Rich said. “Like the offense, this defense has been playing as well as it has in a while.”
Rich said that it is very easy when you are scoring a lot of points to go to sleep defensively, but this team has done a great job of avoiding that from happening.
The final game on the schedule for the Bears will be next Sunday as they end the regular season with a trip to face the Kansas Jayhawks.
Springfield, MO - The Missouri State University Men's Lacrosse team is proud to announce its captains for the spring 2017 season. Voted on by their peers, the group of three features two defenders and a midfielder. Senior midfielder Austin Todd (Lee's Summit, MO), junior defender Nick Eckart (Lee's Summit, MO) and junior defender Gunner Serota (Carthage, NY) will look to lead the team for the 2017 season.
Senior midfielder Austin Todd, a product of Lee's Summit West high school in Lee's Summit, MO, returns as the Bears' top scoring midfielder. In 2016, Todd led the team in extra-man goals, and will look to continue that trend in the even-strength game in '17.
When asked about his senior captain, Head Coach Dustin Rich had this to say:
"Austin is a great young man, and he's turned in to a really well rounded midfielder, who can score off the dodge, on the crease, and he's got the hardest outside shot on the team. We'll look for him to play a big role on our offense this year."
Junior defender Nick Eckart is also a product of Lee's Summit West high school in Lee's Summit, MO. A former teammate of Todd's, Nick will be one of the leaders on the defensive side of the ball in '17.
When asked about Eckart, Coach Rich said:
"Nick has really turned in to a great leader of the years. He works his tail off outside of practice, and this summer really hit the weights. He put on 25 pounds this summer, and has turned in to one of our best long poles. He'll really be an asset for us this year when we play some very tough out-of-conference teams."
Junior defender Gunner Serota rounds out the group. Serota, a product of the prestigious Carthage High school in Carthage, NY, has started every game while at Missouri State. Typically polling the opponent's best attackmen, Serota will look to anchor down a strong defensive unit.
"Gunner has been a leader since he got here as a freshman," Coach Rich said, "He's got a very high lacrosse IQ, and makes our defense work. He's great for some of the younger guys cause he gets it. He's always out there making his teammates better."
All three captains are first year captains. The group will look to lead Missouri State through a tough out-of-conference schedule as well as a six game conference slate. Missouri State was picked to finish second in the GRLC Fall Coaches poll - the highest pre-season ranking the team has received in more than five years.
For more information on the team and their spring schedule, check www.MissouriStateLacrosse.org and follow the team on Twitter and Instagram @MoStateLax.