DAVIS, Calif. — The senior class of 2020 had their season stolen from them.
For reasons outside of their control, they will never be able to pursue goals for which they worked so hard.
As part of a recurring segment for the remainder of this spring, coaches have the opportunity to thank their seniors one last time.
Continuing the series is UC Davis coach Frank Resetarits honoring his eight seniors.
#0 Will Richardson, Defense
Orinda, Calif. (Miramonte)
Economics and International Relations
#2 Dom Piombo, LSM
Danville, Calif. (Monte Vista)
#4 Nick Gomez, Goalie
San Diego, Calif. (Scripps Ranch)
#9 Nick Lombardo, Attack
Newbury Park, Calif. (Newbury Park)
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
#15 David Ulloa, Midfield
San Diego, Calif. (Southwest)
#19 Arthur Antonio, Goalie
Mill Valley, Calif. (Tamalpais)
#21 Connor McCormack, Defense
Livermore, Calif. (Bishop O’Dowd)
Neurology, Physiology & Behavioral Science
#22 Harrison Baker, Attack
Petaluma, Calif. (Petaluma)
I began playing lacrosse when I was seven. In the past 28 years I’ve experienced a lot in this sport: growing up playing box lacrosse in Canada, receiving a scholarship to play at Albany, living my dream by playing eight seasons combined in the NLL and MLL and lots of things in between.
The past seven seasons, I’ve been coaching in the MCLA. After you’ve been around the game for that long, you can tell a lot about how practice is going to go by the way the guys stretch.
Guys can hoot and holler trying to talk a good game to try to prove to others they’re ready to go. But once you know someone well, you can really see how they’re feeling in their body language.
It is not uncommon or unfair for college students to have slow days, especially at a school as academically rigorous as UC Davis. It would only be normal for someone to leave a three-hour neuroscience lab and drag a little on the practice field.
However, that is rarely the case with our UC Davis guys. They aren’t normal: they’re special.
I’m often amazed hearing about the kind of work they put in each day in the classroom and then seeing their effort on the field. Effort is infectious and, here at UC Davis, it spreads down from our group of seniors who model what it means to put in work.
I’ve only been at Davis for five years, so I can’t speak to the past teams, but I would be shocked if there is a class that has been as influential to the program as these young men have.
When this group of seniors arrived on campus, we struggled mightily with numbers: eight or nine guys a practice, 12 or 13 players a game, and we were lucky to get through the season with anyone left on the bench.
Then this group came in and changed all of that.
They began their college careers off rough, starting out 0-5. It was at that point when we sat down and thought about thinking outside the box: 10-man ride, two poles on offense, putting our goalie out there for man up.
If we’re gonna be young and inexperienced, we might as well try to do things others haven’t seen before to even the playing field a little bit. Asking players to do weird stuff like that can sometimes be daunting, but this group never second-guessed and excitedly jumped at the opportunity.
From that point, they took ownership of being the unconventional – having superior energy and pressuring everywhere. They decided to own that style and make it their own.
The past four years have been perhaps the most successful in UC Davis history, and it was all due to this senior class planting the seed. It was the first UC Davis team to make Nationals in 2018 and the first UC Davis team to win the WCLL in 2019 to go along with a repeat bid to nationals and a Top 10 national ranking.
These guys changed what it meant to be an Aggie lacrosse player and they have set the tone for what the expectations are for the program for years to come.
If I have one regret about this senior class, it is that they can’t finish what they started. We talk about how each season, you get an opportunity to write your story. I view their careers as one big book and we were just getting to the best part. This group was peaking.
These seniors were balling out and they were poised to record another first for the program this year: a win at nationals. Alas, they won’t have that chance.
It makes me sick to think this group, that wrote such an amazing story thus far, won’t have the chance to write their ending on the field. But one thing I do know is that these guys have made our program so much better than they found it.
They’re leaving behind an amazing foundation upon which our current players and prospective Aggies can build for years to come. There’s no doubt that well after they graduate, they will continue to be great ambassadors for UC Davis, the MCLA and for the sport of lacrosse.
Thank you guys for what you’ve done for the coaches, the alumni and your teammates. I love this class so much and am so proud to see the men you’ve become.
Can’t wait to see you all on the field again so we can get up and down one last time!