Senior defenseman Josh Blackley carries the ball during N.C. State's game against Alabama Feb. 8 in Atlanta, Ga. The Wolfpack defeated the Crimson Tide by a score of 8-7

Despite numerous practice cancellations due to recent inclement weather in Raleigh, N.C. State’s men’s club lacrosse team has begun the spring season with a 2-2 record. The Wolfpack started the season by splitting two games in an event hosted by Georgia Tech. State defeated Alabama, 8-7 on Feb. 8, but fell to the host Yellow Jackets 10-5 the next day. 

The Wolfpack bounced back on Saturday by defeating in-state foe Wake Forest 9-3, but fell to Elon on its home turf on Sunday.

After the graduation of senior goalkeeper Ray Distefano, the team is depending on its two young goalkeepers to step up in a major way. It is the team’s hope that the experience of its defense will take pressure off the new goalkeepers.  

Fortunately for the Wolfpack, the team believes defense is its strength this season. 

“At this point in the season I would say our strength is in our defense,” junior midfielder Devin Peters said. “We have an experienced starting long pole [defense] line and two freshman goalkeepers that have been an excellent addition to the team, especially after graduating Ray Distefano.” 

The team’s year is divided into two seasons: fall and spring. The fall season featured blowout wins over Tobacco Road rivals Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill by a combined score of 26-8. This spring, State will face schools such as South Carolina, UNC-Charlotte, Liberty, Auburn, Clemson and Appalachian State.

The Wolfpack enjoys the presence of a two seniors that simply know how to score. Senior attackman Bill Nifong and senior midfielder Nathan Poulos led the offensive attack for the Wolfpack, leading the younger team to victories over Wake Forest and Alabama during the fall season. In the Wake game, Nifong had four goals and three assists while Polous chipped in with two goals.

Peters said he hopes this year’s team can come together quickly, as practice time has been limited due to the weather. 

“We’re hopeful to create a little more cohesion on offense in the coming weeks in order to take our team play to a new level and produce a dominating season under our passionate and committed head coach Chip Thurston and assistant coach Chris Demarest,” Peters said. 

The Wolfpack has set the bar high this season, as it hopes to win the Northeast Division of the South Eastern Lacrosse Conference and make it to the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association National Tournament, a feat the team has been unable to achieve the past two years. But this season, team members feel confident in their ability to reach these lofty goals.

“After 3 losses last season by a total of 4 goals, we’re eager for another chance and are very confident in our ability to make it happen,” Peters said.

Senior defenseman Kevin Dunaway, the team’s captain, said he shares Peter’s beliefs and optimism. He said the Wolfpack will continue to get better despite its recent losses.

 “We’re not where we’d like to be yet,” Dunaway said. We haven’t been playing our best lacrosse yet, but we have a lot of talent and potential. We have a goal of making the playoffs and that goal is still well within sight. We’re on track to meet these goals. Our record doesn’t reflect our talent level. We know we are better than a 2-2 team right now.” 

The Wolfpack’s next game will be under the lights on Thursday night at Method Road Field as State hosts SELC foe East Carolina. Face-off is set for 7 p.m.