By: Alex Woodliff, Guest Writer

The University of Michigan-Dearborn men’s lacrosse team will once again cross sticks as the 2017-18 season begins this week.  The team is looking to improve on last year’s season, where they finished 5-6 overall.

The team has been training since September, with 10 returning players rounding out the team. The team is coached by head coach Jason Watts, who in his 14th season alongside assistant coach Mike Wagner.

“Training has been very focused, and the intensity is increasing each day.” Wagner said, “We are trying to practice exactly how we play, and challenge each other so that when we face a live opponent, it should be familiar.”

Wagner also said that they are also looking at revamping their approach to games.

“This year, we are working on implementing multiple schemes on defense.  We have upgraded our defense and expectation is that we will improve and dictate the tempo of the game,”

The Wolverines face some strong competition this season, with seven games against nationally ranked teams before moving on to the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC).

“…we are proud to be playing in the toughest conference in the country.  If you want to be the best, you need to play the best,” said Wagner, “We don’t play cupcakes, every game is a war, and every game is important.”

The team has been putting in hard work in preparation for the season as well as conference.

“The guys are working so hard, and picking each other up…so I’m confident that we will be prepared for the first game.”

Last year’s home opener against Saint Ambrose saw the Wolverines win a close match, 7-6 in overtime. With back to back wins against both Madonna and Asbury University.

This season the team will face NAIA teams that ranked within the top 10 last year.

“We would like to encourage the UM-D campus community to attend this game, and help support us at home against the Blue Devils this year.” Wagner said.

The season opener is Feb. 9 at 8 p.m., and will be held at the Detroit Country Day Fieldhouse in Beverly Hills. The WHAC begins on March 31 against Lawrence Technological University at 2 p.m.