Lacrosse Becomes Hanover’s Newest Sport

 

The Hanover lacrosse team began its first-ever season in February, becoming the school’s ninth men’s varsity sport. The team has lost seven of its first eight games, but building a program up from nothing is always a challenge. The coach who has chosen to undertake this challenge is Skip Lichtfuss, a member of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

“There is nothing more exciting than starting something completely new and fresh, from scratch,” says Lichtfuss about his decision to come coach the Panthers.  “Hanover College offers a combination of outstanding academics, a beautiful campus and is located in an area that is surrounded by explosive growth in the game.”

The team’s first game was against Fontbonne University at LS Ayres Field. “The most significant moment,” said Lichtfuss, “since the preparation and all of the waiting seemed to take forever, was the realization that this thing is really happening once the national anthem was being played prior to our opener.” Colin Kea scored a historic first goal for Hanover in the third quarter following an assist from Trevor Chapman, but the Panthers suffered a 19-3 defeat.

The team was able to celebrate the first win in school history just a few days later, however, when they beat the Milwqukee School of Engineering 6-4. Chapman, Daniel Mains, and Chris Baney were the heroes that day, each scoring two goals. Kea pitched in with three assists. Baney, a freshman from Lexington, Kentucky, is the team’s leading scorer this season with nine goals.

Other individual standouts this year include Derek Coe and Brett Allison, who are tied with Kea and Chapman for the team lead in assists. Equipped with his supply of defensive lacrosse heads, starting goalkeeper Brandon Epperson has made an impressive 96 saves.

Overall the team has been outscored 148-19, but Panther fans should not be discouraged by statistics like this in this first year of the program’s existence. Lichtfuss explains that recruiting the best players from around the country, whick takes time, is necessary to achieve success.

“It will take some time to entice student-athletes outside of the immediate region to attend Hanover,” he said. “However, once the first few get here and experience what the Hanover College community has to offer and what we’re doing with the men’s lacrosse program, it won’t take long to reap the benefits and see more geographic diversity.  We already have players from Michigan, Washington DC, and Florida.  We’ll soon have players from Illinois, Virginia and other states not typical to the Hanover experience.”

Starting up a new sports program is always a difficult task, but Lichtfuss relishes this as an “opportunity to build something special and enduring.”