Written by Sean Dahlin
BUENA VISTA, Va.—In its first year at the varsity level in NCAA Division III, the Southern Virginia University men's lacrosse team finished the season 0-9 in preparation to entering the Capital Athletic Conference in 2014.
"In our first season with varsity status, we hit some bumps in the road," said first-year Head Coach Stephen Macurdy. "It was a frustrating season, but I feel that we had some bright spots and as a team and good individual performances throughout the year."
"Our captains displayed good leadership during the ups and downs," said Macurdy. "The foundation they built will prepare us for Capital Athletic Conference-play."
Larsen was the Knights' leader in goals scored and points for the second straight season, finishing with 14 goals and eight assists. He also registered a season-high 88 groundballs through nine contests.
"For the past two years, our offense has gone through Ryan [Larsen]," said Macurdy.
In his third year at Southern Virginia, Neilson had a standout senior year after recording the third-most goals (8) and points (9) while ranking fourth on the team in groundballs (25).
"Joshua [Neilson] has been one of our most consistent players in the program and was a great example to the rest of his teammates," said Macurdy.
Thompson, who transferred from Utah Valley University, was a mainstay in front of the net with team-highs in saves (72) and save percentage (.431) through the first four competitions before sustaining an injury that held him out of the last five outings of the year.
"It says a lot that Justin [Thompson] was nominated a captain by his teammates in his first year here," said Macurdy. "He did a good job for us at goalie before he was sidelined with his injury."
Freshman Chris Snyder (Miles City, Mont.) took over at goal keeper for the remaining five matches, recording 68 saves and a .393 save percentage in his college debut at the position.
"Chris made marked improvement at goalie, a position that he'd not played in a few years," said Macurdy. "His experience in front of the net will help us heading into next season."
In his first season at Southern Virginia, Hostetter tied for a team-high 14 goals scored while Rush added four goals and four assists and ranked second on the squad with 32 groundballs.
"David played more mature than a freshman from day-one and had a solid first year," said Macurdy. "Derek is an athlete that worked hard and played an important role for our offense."
According to Coach Macurdy, three more returners for 2014—sophomore Hyrum Butler (Buena Vista, Va.) plus freshmen Marcel Blake (Falls Church, Va.) and Jamie Cain (Roanoke, Va.)—improved each practice and game.
"Marcel, Hyrum and Jamie will be important building blocks as we look forward to next year," said Macurdy. "They're all very coachable and have great work ethics, which will lead to the refinement of their lacrosse skills."
In its first season at Division III, Southern Virginia was unable to come away with a win while facing six DIII-sanctioned teams.
The Knights' closest contest came in a 14-6 loss against Radford University Club in a home match on Mar. 23 at The Fields.
"I knew our strength-of-schedule would be a challenge, but it also prepared us for what we should expect in the CAC next season," said Macurdy.
Effective July 1, 2013, Southern Virginia men's lacrosse will join the Capital Athletic Conference—one of the premier DIII athletic conferences for lacrosse on the east coast.