If someone were to talk to the Boise State men’s lacrosse team, they’d never know that they finished their previous season at 3-6. The enthusiasm around the team is warranted, as they’ve already matched their total wins from last season.
Through their current 4-3 start, the Broncos have a different look than in seasons past. The players and coaches both acknowledge the experience of the team. Currently, the Broncos only have two seniors, with a majority of the 29 players being underclassmen, creating room for more leaders to step up. For example, junior midfielder Case Schow has more points through five games than in his last two seasons on the team combined. Needless to say, the group is optimistic.
“We have some freshman starters who have been great. One thing that’s different than from past teams is that we’re less of a team with a few individual stars and more of a cohesive squad,” said junior goalie and team captain Carson Bungay.
Bungay’s co-captain and junior defenseman Joe Peterson sees this year’s squad as one of the best that he’s been a part of in his three seasons at Boise State.
“This is one of the better teams since I’ve been here. As far as the future, this team has the most potential to grow due to talent,” Peterson said.
Fun is certainly an important factor for the players. However, the players and coaches on the team still expect to perform well on the field come gametime. When they aren’t traveling to San Diego or Canada for games, the team is practicing four, sometimes five days a week. They are mostly working on stick handling, conditioning and fundamentals, which are all things that will help them achieve their goal of winning the Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League (PNCLL). A couple of teams the Broncos feel they have to beat on their way to a championship are in-state rival University of Idaho and University of Oregon.
“A big rival is the University of Idaho. We play them every single year. Last year (was) our first loss to them, so we’re looking for vengeance. And obviously the University of Oregon is a big one as well,” said second-year head coach Adam Smith.
Peterson personally enjoys playing against the University of Oregon, “because it always gets chippy.” The last time the two teams squared off, the Broncos came out on top 17-10. This year the two will play on April 12 in Boise.
For players on the Boise State men’s club lacrosse team, the decision to play has a hefty price of $2,000 per player. The fees include travel throughout the northwest, gear and other team costs. Unlike other Division I sports on campus, no scholarships are given to anybody on the team. Nonetheless, the players make the decision to play for personal benefit.
“It’s a good way to stay in shape and be athletic,” Peterson said. “Most of all, playing club lacrosse is an easy way to meet a great group of guys.”
The fraternity environment and Peterson’s perspective on the feel of the team are shared by Bungay.
“You immediately have 20-30 friends because you have lacrosse in common,” Bungay said. “You also get guys on the team that are in your major. For instance, since I’m a civil engineering major, there are freshmen on the team that I can help with their intro to civil engineering classes.”
Lacrosse is often seen as a niche sport that sometimes struggles to attract an audience. For years, people have said that the sport has untapped potential in the mainstream culture. The Bronco lacrosse team’s message to students on campus is to simply give the team and game a shot.
“Lacrosse is the fastest game on two feet. We have a bunch of great guys and very talented players. A lot of people don’t realize how much of an exciting game lacrosse is,” Smith said. “It’s not until people come out that they realize that lacrosse is an awesome game. If you’re at a game, the experience is significantly better than on TV.”
The first home game for the Broncos comes on Tuesday, Mar. 12 at 5 p.m. on the Lincoln Avenue Recreation Field against Dominican University. Home games are free to attend for all Boise State students.
“We’re looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd and coming away with a win on our own field,” Peterson said.