Not many people are talking about the men's lacrosse team here at Baylor, but many of its players believe they are the most “slept on” team in the south. Off to a hot 4-1 start, these men have some lofty aspirations for the upcoming season.
After hiring new head coach Tom Kates two seasons ago, it’s a simple fact that the Baylor men's lacrosse program has gone through a bit of a change. Bringing in new methods and stepping up the commitment and seriousness of the program has lead to Kates' Red Raiders starting the 2019 season with an impressive 4-1 record. The Baylor boys have won four straight games, including their home opener over Dalton by a goal margin of 20-7, and look to continue this success for the rest of the season and into the playoffs. Going into the season, Coach Kates stated, “we want to get better every day,” and that some of the keys to getting better were “having a great attitude and effort.” Kates is known around campus for his seven-days-a-week practices and grueling workouts, but, as a result, his team has great chemistry, especially this season.
The boys face a tough schedule this year playing many away games in Nashville and Memphis along with their now annual spring break trip to Charleston, South Carolina, where they will play multiple games. Senior goalie Mike Rouse said that “after a hard season last year, we are expecting to come out this year with a competitive edge.” Rouse also echoed his coach in saying that “never giving up” is a key to the team’s success this season. As the season progresses, Kates wants his team to “improve and enjoy being together in the process.” This goal is certainly accomplishable, especially considering the Raiders' strong senior class.
Looking at the schedule, obviously many guys have the McCallie game circled but Kates and Rouse had different answers. When asked which game he was looking forward to most, coach Kates stated “the next one,” harnessing his inner Bill Belichick. Rouse looks forward to the trip out to Charleston where they seek revenge after a tough trip last season. The Red Raiders only have 4 home games remaining this season, and the traveling definitely adds to the difficulty of their schedule this season. Regardless, their record down the stretch should indeed prove interesting as the team looks much improved.
Speaking of the senior class, a multitude of seniors will play a big role in this year’s team. Seniors include goalie Rouse, faceoff specialist Alex Mozingo, midfielders Oliver Shuptrine and Garrett Hill, and attack-men Charlie Rehm and Cooper Lewis. This strong class of seniors will be responsible for much of the Red Raiders' goal-scoring efforts along with sophomore Eli Bowen and junior Coda Voyles. The back end will be held down by a strong young group in front of Rouse that includes juniors Rich Hall and Trent Davis along with freshman Dacorian Jones-Montgomery. This lineup is strong both ways, and don’t be surprised to see Coach Kates playing defense heavy sets when necessary.
When it comes down to it, no win total or state title goals were mentioned by either Coach Kates or Rouse. A state title is a great thing, but they are focused on getting better every day and the next game up. When asked why he enjoys coaching, Kates responded with “it’s fun to coach players who want to be there, want to compete,” and he also cited that he follows coach Bill McMahan motto of “it’s not about me, it’s about the B.” Rouse enjoys playing lacrosse and cites that one of the reasons is that “everyone gets along.” He thinks this chemistry “really shows on the field.” The new mentality surrounding Baylor lacrosse has certainly led to a good start and hopefully will lead to a good finish down the stretch for the boys in red.