BYU men’s lacrosse finished the 2016 season strong by making it all the way to the quarterfinals of the national tournament.
The Cougars ended their season on May 10 with a 7-5 loss to Georgia Tech in the quarterfinals.
Head coach Matt Schneck was proud of his team and the season that they had, despite the loss.
“We came up short and (it was) a sad way to end the season,” Schneck said. “But still, we’re very proud of the boys and all of the success that they had.”
BYU men’s lacrosse has been the model for consistency since Matt Schneck took over in 2009.
The Cougars won the national championship in 2011 and have continued to field one of the best teams in NCAA men’s lacrosse since.
BYU once again had an excellent season this year. They finished the season with a 10-4 record and won the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference tournament.
They began the tournament by beating the 6-seed Colorado State University-Ft. Collins. The Cougars followed that win up by beating the No. 5 ranked team, the University of Colorado, in the finals.
“The RMLC championship is extremely meaningful in this country because it’s one of the top conferences in the country.” Schneck said. “It has more national championships in this conference than any other conference in the country.”
Although the team played well in 2016, Schneck emphasized the win/loss record isn’t the only way to measure success.
“Probably the most important things is creating a culture for the young men on the team to truly understand that lacrosse, though it’s an incredible sport to play and we enjoy it so much, we really do emphasize that lacrosse does not define who we are as individuals,” Schneck said.
Schneck believes that the Cougars have been successful because they have not put lacrosse first. They have put the things that truly matter first.
“We’re not lacrosse players first,” said Schneck. “We are students first, we are priesthood holders first, we are sons first, husbands, and all of these things. Lacrosse is just one aspect of who we are.”
Schneck credits this perspective on life as the reason for the Cougar’s success.
“When these guys understand what it means to be a part of the BYU lacrosse program, they understand that it’s to maintain all of these areas of our life,” Schneck said. “By maintaining that balance, we’ve been able to find a tremendous amount of consistency and success.”
Helping lead the Cougars were First Team All-RMLC junior Max Neser, who was a beast on defense, and RMLC Freshman of they Year Award winner Chris Severson, who went from not starting to goal-scoring machine.
Neser said that his favorite part of this year has been “the team.”
“It’s just been a different vibe this year, more unified, great friends on the team,” said Neser. “I think that’s been the difference and my favorite part about it.”
Severson said that he chose to play for BYU because he wanted “the spiritual surrounding.” The Utah native came into this season “excited” to play with his teammates.
“Coming out of high school I was excited to play at a higher level, and the teammates that I’ve got around me, they really hold each other to a high standard,” Severson said. “So it’s been super fun playing at a higher level.”
BYU will go into next year looking to build off of the success that they’ve had this season while evaluating what they need to do improve.
“Our objective at this point is to kind of evaluate the season as we go through the summer and take a look at some of the areas we might potentially make some adjustments to,” Schneck said.