West Palm Beach, Fla. - As the Palm Beach Atlantic University lacrosse prepares to become a varsity sport in the Fall 2017, a “season of lasts” gave the men's team one more opportunity to brag about its success.
The Sailfish earned an at-large berth to the 2017 MCLA Division II National Championship powered by Under Armour, beginning May 8. The games will be played on the campuses of UC-Irvine and Chapman University in Orange County.
According to the MCLA website, the association provides a governing structure for collegiate club teams for “10 non-varsity college lacrosse conferences featuring over 200 teams in two divisions across 43 states and two countries.”
But after this summer, the sport will be included in PBA's NCAA athletic lineup as the school becomes a full member of the Sunshine State Conference.
Driven: A PBA Lacrosse Story, directed by David M. Merrill
The MCLA invitation came unexpectedly after PBA's 8-6 loss to Kennesaw State in the semifinals of the SouthEastern Lacrosse Conference tournament in late April. That loss, combined with the coronation of head coach Chris Southard as the SELC’s Coach of the Year (retiring after 15 seasons), created a cocktail of emotions that have prepared the Sailfish for a postseason run.
“We felt what it was like for our season to end,” said senior Thomas East. “We’ve already cried those tears and mourned that loss.”
But that was just the beginning.
On Monday, No. 14 season PBA played third-seeded Sierra Nevada College in round one. SNC won the Collegiate Lacrosse Association’s Division II Tournament, beating No. 2 seed UC Davis 18-3.
“I'm pumped for Coach Suds,” senior Greg Swanson said. "He's earned this chance. He deserves one more crack at a title. Whatever happens, it's going to be a great experience and a great way to end a legendary program.”
UPDATE: The Palm Beach Atlantic University Sailfish lost to Sierra Nevada College 18-6 in the first round.
For a recap of what the Palm Beach Atlantic University's men's lacrosse team achieved on the field as a club team, please watch this sports documentary by director David M. Merrill, filmed throughout the 2015-2016 season.
The team bounced back from a championship loss against their rival Florida Gulf Coast University, as the Sailfish were driven to fight back to take on their rival in the 2016 Divisional Championship.