After defeating Farmingdale State College 14-7 Wednesday, the men’s lacrosse team is now 7-6 on the season and 7-0 in their native Skyline conference.
Last year, Montclair State graduated two all-Americans, in forwards Zach Schreck and Brett Mangan. In addition to being named first-team all-conference and United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association All-Americans, Schreck and Mangan finished their careers as top-ten scorers in school history.
“We lost two all-Americans [last year] so [the offense] is a work-in-progress,” Head coach Mike Schambach said. “[Schreck and Mangan were] outside shooters, who could create for themselves, and Connor Cunningham provided a lot of senior leadership.”
This year’s team has turned it around on offense. In 13 games against conference and non-conference opponents, the Red Hawks have had no problem producing goals and have outscored their opponents 146-106.
At Sprague field on game-day Red Hawk fans have created the nickname, “The Hammer” for the sophomore forward Matt Haemmerle from Hillsdale, New Jersey.
For the week of April 10, Haemmerle was named Skyline Conference Player of the Week, after registering five goals, three assists and eight points against Kean University on Wednesday, April 12. “The Hammer” had a hand in many key Red Hawk plays.
The Red Hawks have scored at least 12 goals in their last six games, since starting conference play. Since then, few players have stood out more than the sophomore forward.
Haemmerle leads the Red Hawks in goals (34), assists (24), and points (58) and is third on the team in ground balls. “The Hammer” is not just a pure scorer, but a well-rounded lacrosse player.
Ground-balls can be a hard statistic to judge; it seems that all it does is track how many times a player scoops the lacrosse ball off the ground. Looking closer, ground-balls are a statistic that indicates how hard a player competes with their opponent for possession of the lacrosse ball.
“The Hammer” has recorded 30 ground balls this year, which shows Haemmerle is a player that is willing to fight for possession of the lacrosse ball.
The Red Hawks started turning their season around after a 12-10 victory at Merchant Marine Academy. Ever since that game, Haemmerle has had at least three goals-per-game. Although Haemmerle has proven to be the best player this season, he knows his role and is guided by the team’s experienced senior leadership.
“Every single player, from the last guy on the bench to the guys on the field, has a role,” Schambach said. “We have a strong senior class, which is the driving force [for our team], so we think we can achieve our goals this year.”
The Red Hawks’ next home game will be played against Purchase College on April 24 at 7 p.m.