Yellow Jackets Set to Embark on Inaugural Season

DEFIANCE, Ohio The Yellow Jacket men's lacrosse program is set to embark on its opening season as a varsity sport at Defiance College this weekend, as it faces off against Calvin on Saturday in Pontiac, Mich. Head coach Ryan Kuhn is excited to get the season underway.

"As a staff we have been looking forward to this for a very long time and we are excited to get out on the field and show everyone what Defiance Lacrosse is all about," said Kuhn. "We have a fantastic group of young men, and we are very lucky to coach such a wonderful group."

Being a first year program, there are many challenges that the Yellow Jackets face in the upcoming season. Kuhn has instilled expectations and a vision for the young Defiance squad that will help the team get better day in and day out.

"As a staff we have many short term and long term goals," stated Kuhn. "As a program we view every single day as a challenge and have adopted a 'Win the Day' attitude. Every day we want to get better and win the day, and if you can win the small battles during the week it'll definitely put you in a good position to win the battle on gameday. We want to have a successful season this year and success can be defined in many different ways."

One of the major difficulties for every first-year program is recruiting and bringing in quality players. The head coach thinks he and his staff have assembled a solid core of players who will play a factor in the building of the program.

"I think we have a good base to build on in the future," Kuhn said. "We have some guys at key positions that will definitely help us progress as the season goes along."

On the defensive side of the field it is of the upmost of importance to have a solid shot-stopper in a goalie and Kuhn believes he has found one in Chris Smith.

"Chris has developed into an even better stopper since he's gotten here," stated Kuhn. "He's gotten into tremendous shape and it has helped in all facets of his game. He has big game experience coming from one of the toughest high school divisions in the country, and we know it will translate into the college game for our squad."

While the goalie position is a huge factor, the game is controlled by the midfielders and reliable goal-scorers in the attack are crucial to a team's success. Kuhn highlighted two of many players that will have an opportunity to step up and make a difference in the upcoming season.

"Midfielder Chase Mallory is also someone who has come a long way since he has arrived at DC," said Kuhn. "He a strong, athletic midfielder, who has all the tools to be a great player at this level. We are going to lean on him to lead us from the midfield. Attacker Jesse Bailey is someone that really has adapted well to the college game and really excelled in the preseason. He is a tough, shifty player that can be a real offensive threat this year. We look at him as someone that will be a big leader on the offensive side of the ball for the next four years."

The sport of lacrosse is one of the newer sports that is sweeping across the country. Coach Kuhn describes the sport to people who are unfamiliar with lacrosse.

Lacrosse is a great game to watch because it combines a lot of the best qualities from all sports," stated Kuhn. "It combines the physicality of football and hockey with the speed and fitness of soccer, and also the up-and-down tempo of basketball. It is a great sport with a lot of history and all of these factors are definitely a driving force behind why this game is the fastest growing sport in the country."

After the season-opener against Calvin on Saturday, the Jackets host the program's first-ever home game on Saturday, March 2 at the newly-turfed Justin F. Coressel Stadium. The game is set to begin at 1:00 p.m.


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