Masks Off, Helmets On

By Luke Mich

The last Saint Vincent athletic competition before COVID-19 shut down all interscholastic athletics was March 12, 2020. On that day, the women’s lacrosse team beat Mount Aloysius College on the road 18-4. A few days earlier, on March 7, the men’s lacrosse team won their third and final 2020 game, a 12-9 result against Hood College. Now, almost a full calendar year later, both teams will shortly begin interconference competition as a new season is about to unfold.

Junior marketing major Casey Moore, a defender, noted that training began well before students arrived on campus for the new semester.

“We started training pretty much as soon as we got home for break,” Moore said, adding that his coaches sent training regimens detailing what to do each week over break. Once the team returned to campus, practices occurred almost daily, with only one off day each week.


Mich 1 (athletics.stvincent.edu): Members of the men’s lacrosse team watch from the sidelines of UPMC Field as the team plays Mount Union in their home opener last season. Saint Vincent won 10-7.

Additionally, to ensure a safe and healthy season, temperature checks and COVID-19 screenings are performed regularly.

“We are screened for COVID-19 every day before practices, which includes a questionnaire and temperature check,” Moore mentioned.

Because of the current situation with COVID-19, there are many differences this season from seasons past. One is that all games are against conference opponents, and another is the limit on locker room access.

“Some obstacles are definitely the lack of the social gatherings that we as a team can take part in due to the social distancing guidelines,” Moore added.

As difficult as it is playing and practicing under these guidelines, coaching is just as challenging. Jym Walters, head coach of the women’s lacrosse team, talked about some of these challenges.

“There’s a lot of [Bearcat sports] teams that are using the turf field, so the practice times have been cut a half hour,” Walters said. “Everything COVID-related can become a distraction to the team if we allow it to be.”

However, Walters said the team has done a “great job of staying focused.”

This lacrosse season, anything can happen, such as matches being postponed or cancelled—or worse, the season ending early once again. Still, Moore noted that understanding this makes the team stronger and more grateful for having a season.

“This makes us focus more on the present than we ever have before as athletes, and it makes us thankful for every opportunity we have to practice and play. We’re grateful for every chance we get to compete,” Moore concluded.

Walters believes his team has the potential to have a very successful season.

“We have outstanding returning leadership and a talented freshman class. I’m looking forward to seeing them in action and if we can stay healthy, I fully expect this time to make some noise in the playoffs!”

Moore and the men’s lacrosse team played their first match on Feb. 27 against Franciscan and their next match will be at Grove City on March 6. Coach Walters and the women’s team will open play against Westminster at home on March 13, their first game in 366 days.

#LukeMich #Bearcats #Lacrosse #COVID19

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