In its first year as a formal organization, the Union club lacrosse team blitzed through the season without a loss, culminating in a national championship last weekend.
The 45-member team defeated Marist, 15-9, in the title game at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Saturday to cap a 12-0 season.
“It feels amazing to win it all in our first year,” said Devon Halliday ’22, co-president of the team and a managerial economics major from Bethlehem, N.Y. “I am extremely proud of the way we worked as a team. There is so much that goes into a club sport behind the scenes, but I think I speak for all of the club lacrosse leadership when I say that winning this weekend made it all worth it.”
There have been previous club lacrosse teams at Union that played on an informal basis. However, Halliday, Jamie Rice ’22 and Matt Bidgood ’22 pushed to join the National College Lacrosse League. The seniors recruited former high school All-Americans and first-time players representing a mix of academic disciplines and grade levels.
Halliday’s father, Andrew, who played lacrosse at Colgate University, coached the team. He had also coached his son in youth leagues.
“It was cool to have him as my coach again when we are both older and have more of a friendship around the game,” Devon said. “He still plays lacrosse. It is something we have in common, and I hope we can keep sharing this game for as long as possible.”
Playing in the Empire Conference, the team finished the regular season 7-0. It then defeated Binghamton and RIT to win the conference championship and advance to the Division II championships at Annapolis.
There, the team kept its perfect season intact by defeating High Point University in the Elite Eight and Georgetown in the Final Four.
A steady rain fell when Union and Marist met for the championship. When the game ended, Union team members hoisted the Frederick Cup as national champions. They also were honored as Team of the Year for their perfect season. Halliday was named MVP of the Final Four.
“Club lacrosse has tried to get going in the past, but things always seemed to get in the way,” Halliday said. “This year was different. Everything came together for our program.”