The 2016 Johnnie Lacrosse season was a season of missed opportunities. The Johnnies, coming off a quarterfinal exit at the 2015 MCLA National Championship tournament, were looking to get back to CA, but it seems that just wasn’t meant to be. The Johnnies finished the season with a record of 5-3. The final six games of the season will be changed to forfeits as the Johnnies had be found to be in violation of the eligibility rules set for by the MCLA.
“It was a tough situation and disappointing end to our season,” Said Coach Derek Daehn. The Johnnies found out they would be ineligible to receive a bid for the 2016 National Championship had they been offered an at-large bid. “Throughout the season we played well at times, but had too many lulls where we didn’t play to our full potential. We showed character to fight back into games, but ultimately we may not have had the record to justify an at-large bid had we been eligible.”
Prior to the news to conclude the season, the Johnnies were 2-6 in games vs ranked opponents. The team had an impressive victory over the defending national champions University of Dayton and a comeback win vs Indiana Tech, other than that, the seemed to struggle to close out the big games. The Johnnies suffered a heartbreaking loss early in the year vs UMD. “I wanted that game pretty bad and the Bulldogs played harder than we did that day,” said Daehn. The next test was against a very good Grand Valley State University team, in which the Johnnies jumped out to a 7-2 halftime lead to fall 12-11 on a GVSU goal in the last :30 seconds of the game. “That one stings, we had a bad 3rd quarter,” said Coach Adam Benney, who is in his third season on the Johnnie coaching staff after graduating from SJU in 2009. The Johnnies had a loss to 2016 National tournament team Grove City in which Grove City had a 5-1 lead at one point. After a roaring comeback attempt in the third quarter, Grove City held on for 10-7 win over the Johnnies.
“Our focus for 2017 is to ensure accountability on and off the field and keeping our guys focused, especially in the classroom so we can avoid issues moving forward. We will install additional procedures for academic monitoring to make sure players are on track,” said Daehn. “We followed the procedures in place for reporting our eligibility to our conference, so this situation is a bit of an anomaly. There is no league requirement for a mid-season check but this is something we will be adding prior to going into conference play,” said Daehn.
The Johnnies will be graduating a great group of young men who will undoubtedly be very successful after SJU. “Our Seniors have raised the expectations of our team and have provided great leadership. They will be missed,” said Daehn. “Their hard-work over the past 4 years should not be minimized by a less-than-ideal ending; they have helped to lay more groundwork for us to continue to improve our program going forward.”
St. John’s has another exciting class of freshman coming to Collegeville in the fall of 2016 and will be looking forward to capitalizing on the opportunities in front of them in the Spring of 2017. Check out the list of incoming Johnnies here.