PROVO, UT — The Brigham Young University Men’s Lacrosse team finished their final day of tryouts on Saturday under a gorgeous sunrise. If mother nature is any indicator, then BYU has a bright outlook for the season. New players from across the country tried out with returning players in what was a two-part selection process. Head Coach Matt Schneck explained about the format, “The first couple of days we focused only on the newcomers, and then today is the first day that we’ve invited the returning players back.” Schneck said the reason for this was the large number of hopefuls wanting to make the team. With the history of success the team has, the desire to tryout is high among students attending the university.
That, in combination with many of BYU’s players returning from LDS missions, means that their recruiting is in a unique situation.
Schneck mentioned a few players that are expected to contribute this year who have returned from missions. “One individual in particular we are excited that’s back is Chandler Wescott. Chandler was an All-Conference and All-American candidate for us his freshman year before he left on his mission, so we’re excited to see him back.” Wescott was an Honorable Mention All-American attackman who also garnered 2nd Team All-Conference RMLC honors. He tallied 23 goals and 39 assists in 20 games during the 2015 season. Another player mentioned was Dalon Hampshire. “Dalon Hampshire will be competing for the starting goalie spot. Dalon had some playing time his freshman year as well and is just recently returned,” said Schneck. Hampshire registered 41 saves with a 3.444 GAA in nine games in 2015 as a freshman.
Schneck also praised returning players from last year’s squad. “Those that were very involved with our success last year would be Chris Seversen, Zach Labrum, Jake Hougaard, Tanner Johnson, just some really incredible guys. [In addition], Harry Waddoups, Winston Farley. We really are stacked with an offense full of returning All-Conference and All-American players,” says Schneck.
According to Schneck, “[The] defense will be rebuilding a bit, but we do have a solid returning senior Boston Handley, who has been contributing for the last three years on the team and we’re looking forward to having him back”. Another player expected to contribute on the defensive side of the ball is Zach Burbidge. “Zach Burbidge is somebody that wasn’t on the team before his mission, but he was a high school All-American LSM and we expect him to be able to come in and help contribute significantly this year.” While there may be inexperience on the defense, BYU historically has been strong on that side of the ball. Expect the Cougar defense to have a strong showing.
BYU welcomes new additions to the coaching staff as well. Evan Clinger and Devin Needs are both graduates of Brigham Young, where they each played LSM. Schneck says of the new coaches, “We’ve got a great staff this year. We’re very excited about the potential that we have as a team, especially with the new style the coaches are bringing in.”
With the new additions to the program, BYU looks to have a strong year. When asked about the outlook for his team, Schneck said, “Before we even start talking about nationals or things like that, we feel like being able to compete in the RMLC and putting ourselves into a position to repeat as the RMLC champions is our number one goal. And then second after that is we’d like to see the team go deeper in the national tournament and compete for a national championship.” While the spring season is still far off, BYU is taking nothing for granted. “This is day one here today working towards [their goal] and I think we’ve got some great potential here.” Look for the BYU Lacrosse team to make a splash this spring.