BY ZACH COLANGELO, STAFF WRITER
Can Susquehanna stay on top?
That’s the question that both Susquehanna lacrosse programs are eager to answer this season. The 2013 season was one for the record books as men’s and women’s lacrosse each won their first Landmark Conference title and with it, both teams secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.
Much of this success can be credited to the Moan family, where coaching is in the blood. Both head coaches, Stewart Moan of the men’s team, and Laura Moan of the women’s team, arrived at Susquehanna in 2008.
In six seasons, the Moans have not only led their teams to Landmark Conference titles, but also set program records for victories in a single season.
As can be expected after a successful season, there is excitement in the air regarding the upcoming season.
The Landmark Conference preseason poll picked the men’s team to finish second.
In such a competitive conference, no team has won back-to-back conference titles.
Stewart Moan said: “We had a special season last year, and yes, we might have a target on our backs, but I would like to change that word ‘pressured’ to ‘opportunity.’ We have an opportunity to go out there and do something fun, unique and special.”
Returning this year on the offensive side is senior attack Austen Lein.
After receiving all-conference honors and being the team’s leading goal scorer last year with 32 goals, Lein is statistically one of the top returners.
Lein said: “The motto in all our practices this year has been all in and we are all willing to put everything we have on the line to win another conference championship.”
On the defensive side, sophomore defenders Corrie Van Haasteren and Kade MacGregor will anchor the defense.
Winning a Landmark Conference title, finishing 17-1 and making it to the NCAA tournament, the women’s team had a season for the record books last year. Laura Moan said, “Last year was a special season, and making it to the NCAA (tournament), we have realized that we can make it, and these girls have the motivation to do it again.”
Returning six of their top scorers, the Crusaders have plenty of experience to lean on. Senior midfielder Michelle McGinniss had 58 goals and 10 assists last season, while senior midfielder Emma Ehler had team-high 80 goals and 18 assist. Ehler and McGinniss combined for more than half of the team’s total points last year. According to Laura Moan, having these two on the same line is an unstoppable force.
Ehler said, “As long as we keep pushing and making sure we try our best every day, we can’t complain about the outcomes.”