Updated April 2 at 2:39 p.m.
North Central’s lacrosse team has endured a learning curve in its inaugural season. Sixteen men are on the roster, many of which have never played lacrosse before.
At the helm of the program is coach Billy Frick. Frick brings his vast experience as a player, coach, official and administrator of the sport and has brought his love for the game to the university.
“I am thankful to the staff at North Central University to have the opportunity build a lacrosse program from the ground up at an institution where I will be able to combine both of my passions, personal faith and lacrosse, to impact young men for eternity.” Frick told the North Central Rams website.
Frick and his Rams faced a bitter reality in their first-ever scrimmage against six time UMLC Division II conference champion St. John’s, resulting in a 19-0 thrashing. The Rams didn’t have time to dwell on the loss, as they faced another tough team, the Division II St. Thomas Tommies days later.
A great crowd turned up for the first home lacrosse scrimmage at Elliot Park in another very challenging game resulting in a 25-1 trouncing in favor of the Tommies. The Rams were able to keep their heads high with all of this in mind, resulting in the first goal in the history of North Central lacrosse, scored by junior Jake Nelson.
Much of the team has come from backgrounds in other sport. One of the team’s newcomers, Ben Majerle, has not played organized lacrosse before, but has played hockey all his life.
“Being my first year of lacrosse ever, it’s definitely been a learning experience the past couple of weeks,” Majerle said. “With a new program we really have been stressing fundamentals of the game and we spend a lot of practice learning some main plays used in the sport.”
After learning fundamentals and having two scrimmages under their belts, the Rams looked to start their first season in Beloit, Wisconsin for their first official game only for it to be cancelled due to weather. The game was rescheduled for April 5 at 7 p.m. in Beloit, Wisconsin.
Instead the Rams squared off against Carroll University in an historic inaugural NCAA Division III game. The Pioneers had played four matches going into the game, including a 9-8 victory over Northwestern. The Rams fell to the Pioneers 15-4. Sophomore Seth Hanson, who has prior lacrosse experience in high school, netted two goals in the loss. Juniors Tim Dokken and Nelson also scored for the Rams.
The Rams had time to regroup before their first home game against the Northland College Lumberjacks which resulted in a 13-4 loss and saw Dokken score two goals and record an assist to a Nelson goal. The team bounced back the following week and competed in the local Northwestern/North Central rivalry for the first time. Northwestern, who is also in their first competitive lacrosse season, was victorious in a hard fought battle against the Rams 6-4.
A busy month of April lies ahead for the Rams and plenty of time still remains for the Rams to salvage their inaugural season.