The Dalhousie University Tigers men’s lacrosse team has claimed their ninth consecutive Maritime University Field Lacrosse League (MUFLL) championship.
The club won all nine games of the regular season, claiming 142 goals and only giving up 15. This brought the Tigers’ winning streak to 87 games.
Dalhousie players made up five of the nine first team league all-stars. Two of the award winners were Matt Wilson and Liam MacIntosh. Wilson and MacIntosh led the league in goals this season, and MacIntosh was also named the league MVP this year after scoring 34 goals.
“It’s the love of the game. We wouldn’t be playing if we didn’t love the game of lacrosse,” says MacIntosh. “And it’s fun as hell to score five goals a game and for your team to win 20 to nothing. Never gets old.”
Both MacIntosh and Wilson are in their third season with the team and say that practicing against the team’s strong defence is a big part of their offensive success.
“Since we are the best players in the league, usually we will be going against each other and have a high competition in practice and usually that will make you better,” says MacIntosh. “Everyone commits to the excellence of the team.”
Like MacIntosh, Wilson sees the success of the program as having created a winning culture.
“Our program has built up over the last few years to kind of expect us to be here, and anything less is probably a failure for us at this point,” says Wilson.
Head coach Connor Dubreuil has been with the Tigers from the beginning of their win streak and still remembers their last loss.
It was 2012, he was in his second year as an assistant coach and was going to take over as head coach the next season. The Tigers were matched up with Saint Mary’s Huskies. It was a Friday night game. He was in charge but couldn’t get control over the team or the game, resulting in a 12 to 11 loss.
He has since shown the league that the Tigers under his leadership are in a league of their own.
“We can’t hold ourselves to anybody else’s standard but ours. That’s just the way we have to operate around here,” says Dubreuil.
The team won both their semi-final game against the University of New Brunswick Reds and their championship game against the St. Francis Xavier X-Men with a score of 11 goals to four. Dubreuil says that it can be a challenge to keep the team motivated, especially when “[they] haven’t really been tested much this year, unfortunately.”
Instead, Dubreuil focuses on individual skill development and uses practices to create some inner-team competition by scrimmaging with the offence against the defence.
The team faces the struggle of staying engaged and interested during blow-out games, like their 21 to zero home opener win against the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers.
“I’ve had guys come through this program and play five years for us and never lose a lacrosse game, and that’s fun to an extent,” says Dubreuil. “But you do want to lose games. You want a reason to get better.”
No longer chasing the championship
Being a club sport means being funded by the team members, alumni donations, grants and fundraising events. It also means that the team has an executive to communicate with Dalhousie.
Jérémie Baumeister, another first team league all-star, is a fourth-year student on the squad and one of the co-presidents for the executive. He says the end goal is for the team to go varsity, but for now they’d settle for a little help to cover the cost of the mesh for the nets and some extra balls.
Baumeister went into his last championship freshly healed from a concussion, with a different goal than just hosting the trophy above his head.
“At this point, we aren’t so much chasing the championship as we are chasing the best play we can,” says Baumeister. “We just want to be the best players that we can be.”
Dalhousie’s women’s lacrosse team also won their championship with a 15 to five win over at St. FX.