Hello Vandal Lacrosse Families,
I've been anxiously waiting for word from PNCLL and the University regarding the status of our spring season. Following recent meetings with those entities and discussion during our February Board meeting, the decision not to move forward with a Spring competitive season was made with reluctance and disappointment. As much as I’ve been pushing and hoping to have some sort of competitive season, common sense prevailed, the decision being based on a combination of factors, basically all COVID-related:
(1) First – our player roster numbered 23 in September of 2020, but with players leaving campus for varied reasons since then, our roster now sits at 13. From experience, it is not viable or safe for us to attempt games with fewer than 15 players, especially against teams with rosters of 25+. I’m hopeful that some of the players who left will return to campus in August and rejoin the team.
(2) Second – the restrictions and protocols required due to COVID would complicate travel logistics. University vans will not be available, so players would have to travel in personal vehicles to opponents’ venues. The need for individual hotel rooms and chartered transportation would be financially taxing without increasing player dues significantly. There could also be increased risk of exposure when traveling to areas with a higher number of COVID cases, like Oregon and Washington.
(3) Third - most of our D1 conference competitors have the same issues with travel logistics or can only play home games, while several chose to cancel their seasons, all factors which limit available opponents.
But not all is lost! Players will continue once-a-week practices with Coach Blake and me to maintain skills and satisfy the craving for lacrosse. And because of the disjointed lacrosse experience last Spring and this Fall, the players decided to meet weekly on their own to reestablish the team bond. With only one weekly practice with coaching time and with no games or travel, there will be no player dues assessed this Spring. (Although dues aren’t being collected, any donations to jumpstart our Fall fundraising will be gratefully welcomed!)
I must commend the players who have remained committed all along, even with the status of lacrosse season being questionable. That level of commitment is the foundation to make this team strong and successful next season!
Even without a lacrosse season, we still contemplated having a combo meet-n-greet/annual team banquet on Parent’s weekend in April as an opportunity for all to meet in-person (while following protocols), to recognize senior players (three were on track to be four-year players but were cheated of their Jr. and Sr. seasons), and to graciously thank the outgoing Board members who stayed on through COVID chaos, almost a year longer than their two-year terms. But, unfortunately, Parents’/Family Weekend in April is strongly being encouraged as ‘virtual’ only, and consideration of COVID safety concerns made common sense prevail again.
Instead, that plan will be postponed until early September - mark your calendars now! I’d like us to have a special get-together as a team REUNION and RESET to a ‘normal’ Fall, and as a chance to ‘meet the parents’ and encourage you all to become volunteers and REBUILD the Board and RENEW the strong support for players and coaches so Vandal Lacrosse can REBOUND for next season!
I welcome emails or calls with any questions – especially those about the very important open Board positions needing to be filled as soon as possible.
We'll keep you updated about Vandal Lacrosse news and info during the coming months. Let's all be hopeful that it won't be long until we can REFOCUS on getting back to playing lacrosse.
– Coach Colton Raichl