'Adversity breeds champions': Flagler men's lacrosse takes lumps, hopes to click soon
ST. AUGUSTINE — The Flagler College men’s lacrosse team is on schedule in terms of progress in its second season.
Last year, the goal was to learn how to compete against elite teams. So, the Saints played an arduous schedule. This year isn’t any easier. They’ve already played reigning national champions Tampa and No. 13 Rollins.
The Saints, however, are more equipped than last year to compete in those big games.
The Saints (2-7) picked up some Division I transfers and went to the weight room. They are 10-15 pounds bigger, more skilled and lowered the goal differential against every team they've played. Last season, they lost to Embry Riddle 14-8. This year, they fell to the Eagles 11-10.
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“We’re kind of starting to inch towards — I guess you call it — respectability,” coach Brian Duncan said.
Flagler College didn’t win until its 12th match in its inaugural season. It has played mostly the same schedule thus far and was victorious with its second game.
Duncan's team is not frazzled against elite teams, he said. They just go out and play.
The Saints follow their "ABC" mantra, which means “adversity breeds champions.” They’re agritty, competitive team that plays with some moxie. Although Flagler College dropped its last two at home to Saint Leo and Quincy, it showed flashes of its potential with some strong defensive stops and quick scoring strikes. They lost both games by a combined three goals.
Flagler’s game against Mt. Olive is when it started to click for the Saints, sophomore Tyler Douglass said. They beat the Trojans 14-11 for its second win.
“We were able to see how good we are and how good we can be,” Douglass said. “We’re only going up from here.”
Defensively, the Saints have improved significantly. Sophomores Ethan Lyles and Blake Gonzalez lead the charge. Lyles’ speed and intensity have been especially key for Flagler.
Offensively, they’ve slowly improved. Opponents have outscored the Saints 119-91 through the first nine games. They’ve learned how they should be moving off the ball and how to move the ball.
Once they figure out how to hold on to leads and compete for 60 minutes — lookout, senior Thomas Pritchard said. They already feel like their goal of a conference championship is attainable this year.
“We’re fighting tooth and nail to get to that point,” Pritchard said. "We're excited. We're close."
This article originally appeared on St. Augustine Record: College men's lacrosse: Flagler inches closer toward respectability