Going into his last season at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with 15 games, a fraction of the normal amount, under his belt, Tim Schartz wants one thing from his last year at Nebraska and it’s to be competitive.
One of the first documented sports in America by the Native Americans, lacrosse has often been referred to as the fastest game on two feet. Lacrosse participation is on the rise across the nation. At the collegiate level, lacrosse has many different divisions, including NCAA Division I, II and III and junior college.
At Nebraska, the lacrosse club plays in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association, which is not a varsity-sanctioned sport with the university. The difference between the NCAA lacrosse and MCLA lacrosse is that NCAA-affiliated teams are varsity level and the MCLA is a club lacrosse league for colleges and universities around the US and Canada.
Throughout the MCLA, Division I and Division II, 200 teams make up 10 conferences over 43 states. Nebraska has been a member of the MCLA since it was founded in 2006.
Schartz said he did not expect that when the MCLA season was called off in March 2020 due to COVID, that it would be the last time he would suit up for a game in a year and a half.
This year, the team faces new challenges with getting back into shape and bonding before the season debut in early February 2022.
Schartz said the team is trying to get as much chemistry as possible before then. “But until we are at real game speed, it is hard to fully know what to expect.”
Schartz also mentioned having a personal battle with COVID last year and dealing with lung and heart issues from the virus that really threw him off track.
“It was a long road getting back to just working out again after I got sick,” he said.
His main challenge for the season will be his conditioning and getting back to where he was with it his freshman year.
In his second year as president for the lacrosse club, Schartz has many roles to make sure the club can run smoothly. Some examples include scheduling games, practices, getting university approvals, recruiting new members and managing the budget. Being the head of the club is no breeze, he said, but it was essential to take over this role again going into his senior season.
“There weren’t many other players who wanted to take over that responsibility and being on the board last year I already knew how things were run. Ultimately, I wanted to make sure the team was still able to play and get games scheduled for the spring,” Schartz said.
Ryan Page, a senior also entering his last year of school-sanctioned lacrosse, has been playing lacrosse since the sixth grade and hopes his last season of meaningful lacrosse is nothing short of a great time.
“I wanted to be a part of the lacrosse team here at UNL because it gives you a sense of community without having to join a fraternity or social club here on campus,” he said.
Now that Page’s senior campaign is upon him and games are scheduled for spring, he hopes to find success after some time off.
His personal goal for this season is to crack the all-conference team.
“Whether it’s honorable mention, first, second or third team all conference,” he said.
The Huskers men’s lacrosse club kicked off its fall season this September with a scrimmage against Midland University. First-year Coach Jimmy Moran said he hopes this will be a good measurement of where the club is at after a year-and-a-half live game break.
Moran, a former player for the club, has three years of coaching experience with the Lincoln Rampage and held the presidency duties in his junior year at Nebraska.
“I look forward to the challenge of coaching at this level,” Moran says. “I hope to grow the game here at the university.”
The club has 10 regular-season games scheduled this spring and hopes to make the MCLA national championships In Austin, Texas in May for the first time in club history.