The GW men’s club lacrosse team had a hot date planned last weekend. It was invited to the National College Lacrosse League’s Sweet Sixteen playoffs at the University of Virginia for the first time in five years and was poised to bring its program back to its former prominence. But when the team showed up for the game, they found themselves with no opponent.
The Colonials had been stood up.
The day before the mishap, GW did not expect to advance to the playoffs, captain Kevin Kelly said. The NCLL had selected George Mason, but GW had a better record and appealed the decision.
“They informed us in the morning the day before the game that we’d be playing Lynchburg [College] in the playoffs and gave us an hour to respond whether or not we’d be at the game at 12 p.m. the next day,” Kelly said. “But they forgot to notify Lynchburg or the University of Virginia.”
Unfortunately for the Colonials, the league discovered its mistake long after the team had piled into rented vans and made the three-hour trek to UVA’s Charlottesville campus, Kelly said. With no team to play and no field to play on, the men had no choice but to turn around and drive back to the District.
“I guess it was just a failure on their part not to notify the other team,” junior Nik Alexoff said. “We were never really given an explanation.”
It’s not the first thing to go wrong for the club. After their Division I Championship win in 2004, things have seemed to go downhill. Though none of the current players on the team were there that year, senior Ricker Rollins said the season following their win the club leaders closed out the team’s bank account and took all the jerseys.
It’s been a slow climb back up since then, Kelly said.
“After that happened, the program fell apart. We’d like to be back at the D-I level and we’re making steps towards that,” Kelly said. “We beat Georgetown this year and they’re ranked in the D-I and it’s the first time we’ve beaten them in four or five years.”
Kelly said an infusion of talented freshmen players and some personal growth has propelled the team to new heights this year and despite the long drive home last weekend, they found the silver lining.
The NCLL is reimbursing them for the rental vans and gas, and will pay for their hotel stay this weekend, when they attempt to play Lynchburg for the second time. Because the other matches were played as scheduled last week, GW advanced to the final eight without ever stepping foot on the field.
Kelly said, “Even though it really sucked initially and a lot of the guys on the team were really upset with how the league handled it, in a way, that lack of organization worked out to our advantage in the end.”