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Spring sports begin MAC seasons amidst snow

Golf

Finishing fifth in the PAC last season, Eastern’s golf team plans to step up their game as they enter the MAC Conference.

“Our guys should compete very well in the MAC,” head coach Mark Birtwistle said.

Even though the MAC presents a different challenge, all of the players intend to leave their mark. With five players returning, Birtwistle hopes his team will reach Top Three in the conference, if not win it.

“All of our guys are pretty even in talent,” Birtwistle said, “but the experience the seniors have will help them.”

Those seniors – Drew Krupp, Jeff Loesser, Adam Rogers and Dallas Post – all have a great task ahead of them. Many big tournaments are on the road for the six-man team, including Hershey Country Club and the MAC Championship at Blue Ridge in Harrisburg.

But winning is not the only thing on this team’s mind. Birtwistle would also like his players to represent Eastern as a Christian school. Last year, Eastern carried away the 2008 Sportsmanship Award from the PAC Championship, and they hope for a repeat performance in the MAC.

Men’s Tennis

As usual, Eastern’s men’s tennis team plans to start their season at Hilton Head, S.C. Once they return, however, it’s nothing but hard work for them.

“There will be slightly tougher competition [in the MAC] and longer road trips, to be sure,” Head Coach Mark Spangler said.

The Eagles promise to be a tight-knit team, with four returning, one first-year, and two transfer players. “They should be good additions,” Spangler said of his new players.

Seniors Taylor Kiser and Sean McGuinness will be captains for this season. With tough games against Wilkes and Messiah on the road ahead, Kiser and McGuinness will have to make sure that team camaraderie is at an all-time high.

Spangler said that his ultimate goal for the season is to win the conference. He also would like his team to grow spiritually, as tennis players and as a unit.

“I would like to see players returning to make steps to get better individually,” he said.

Men’s Lacrosse

As a new coach steps into position, the Men’s Lacrosse team looks to redeem their PAC Championship loss last year by reaching the same level, if not higher, in the MAC.

Head Coach Brandon Childs acknowledges the tougher aspect of the MAC but believes that his team, comprised of five first-years and nineteen returnees, can pull through.

Childs looks for three members on the squad to lead the team this year. Goalie Zach Rivest, attackman Nick Mandia and midfielder Ben O’Donnell – all seniors – serve as captains this season, each of them qualified by their excellent stats the year before.

Several big games await them including MAC games against Messiah, Widener, Elizabethtown and Lycoming.

Childs is not concerned though – his first priority is to “create a hunger for the program” by making his team really compete and have stronger commitments to each other as well as themselves.

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