Preparing for a lacrosse game is no easy feat. Coaches spend hours designing practices, going over film, and creating the perfect roster. The players are constantly working out, watching what they eat, and still balancing schoolwork and a social life. But, with COVID-19, sports needed to take a backseat to health. In the spring of 2020, the season was cancelled four games in.
Fast forward to the spring of 2021, nobody knows if they will be able to finish the season, but the players and coaches are adjusting and trying to follow the new COVID-19 procedures set upon them by the school and the NCAA.
In multiple interviews the three captains on the Hilbert Men’s Lacrosse team, Brandon Bitka, Tony Cappola, and Liam Doyle, they helped shed some light on what the team is going through this season.
When asked about how COVID-19 has affected the team and himself in terms of camaraderie, Brandon Bitka, a junior Attackmen, said that because of the restrictions set in place by the school, it has been difficult to bond with teammates outside of lacrosse.
“COVID-19 has affected me personally by being able to be around teammates outside of practice,” Bitka said. “A big part of being on a team, being a leader on a team is also being able to connect with teammates outside of lacrosse. Due to COVID rules and restrictions this has limited our overall team bonding.”
It is safe to assume that for most who have ever played a sport, can admit that the best teams they have played on, are the teams where each member feels like a brother. As a freshman coming in college can be daunting and it is up to the upperclassmen to welcome them in and help them get adjusted from the transition from high school to college.
Tony Cappola, a fifth year senior Midfielder, stated that because of COVID-19, practices have changed drastically over the past couple months. In the beginning of the season, the team was allowed to hold practices with groups of ten players or less. Then with the introduction of three tests a week, practices have gone to what they normally were. Tony also states that when practices were held in groups of ten or less, it was difficult, and the team had to get creative with their drills and practice plans.
“In the beginning of the season and in our fall season we were only allowed to practice in groups of 10 or less,” Cappola said. “Starting two weeks ago we started getting three rapid tests a week and are able to practice like we normally would. When we were in our groups of 10 it was a very different type of practice and the coaches had to get creative with our drills and practice plans.”
Liam Doyle, a junior Attackmen, was asked about the team’s overall skill this season. He said that last year’s team was “sick” and has some big shoes to fill. This current team’s roster is not the biggest, so everyone is going to have to step up, including the young guys.
“Our team last year was sick but for us to get to that same point this year, were going to need guys to fill some big shoes,” Doyle said. “Our roster size isn’t the biggest, so we are going to need everyone on the team to play a role. Young guys have to step up and ball out as best they can to help us out.”
The 2020 Hilbert Men’s Lacrosse team graduated or lost five starters on the team. Three being offensive attackmen. Gauging the three captains during the interviews, I would say this team has a lot to work on however, if anyone is capable of doing the work it is those guys. Hopefully, the team can stay healthy, and the 2021 college lacrosse season does not get cancelled.