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Illinois Wesleyan Lacrosse Prepares for First Season

BLOOMINGTON - It can be tough to build anything from the ground up, but the process can also be an incredible ride along the way...

BLOOMINGTON - It can be tough to build anything from the ground up, but the process can also be an incredible ride along the way. For Illinois Wesleyan’s newest sports team, the inaugural campaign can’t begin soon enough.

"Even if you don't know what's going on, it's exciting. There's hitting, there's shooting, there's scoring, there's team offense, team defense, it's pretty much everything you love in every sport," said Steven Laduzinsky, IWU freshman goalie.

It's easy to see why Titans' Head coach Zach Iannucci is excited about the school's newest varsity team: lacrosse.

"20 years from now, we know that we were here to start it, and we think that we can make it a national contender and we think that with the academics we have in place, there's nothing in our way, really," said Iannucci.

With a roster of 34 freshmen and just six upper classmen, Iannucci knows there will be growing pains this season.

"We're going to be going up against teams of seniors, our freshmen will have to grow up quickly," said Iannucci.

But he says since fall practices began, his team has been ready to roll

"That emotion was through the roof that first day, and it was awesome," said Iannucci. "Guys were flying around, playing fast. We were so impressed with them that first day, but most importantly they came out that way the second day, the third day, the fourth."

"But most importantly, they're covering some basics, so everyone can be ready to play in multiple spots in the lineup, when the games matter.

"It's helpful to learn everyone's names that way you get more comfortable and can talk, putting in our defenses, packages and stuff like that," said Laduzinsky.

"Because it's so fast, you almost have to know two or three steps ahead," said Smith.

And the players say there's already some chemistry.

"We're definitely more working as a team, you know, you can start to predict what people are going to do, which really helps because then you don't have to wait for it to happen, you can just take it and go," said Jake Nave, a freshman defender.

Their first game is still months away, but Iannucci has it circled on his calendar.
"February 22nd," said Iannucci.

Illinois Wesleyan’s men won't be the only ones playing lacrosse in the near future. In 2015, the school will start its women's team. Recruiting is already underway.

The Titans’ first home game will be March 1 at Tucci Field in Bloomington. You can find their full schedule here.

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