When the Emmanuel men's lacrosse team started the season with three consecutive losses, many may have thought that it was going to be more of the same for the Saints, who finished in the middle of the GNAC the last two seasons. Junior goalie Austin Lauzier had other thoughts.
"We as a team, we kind of bought into a teamwork mentality and really buying into the same goal," Lauzier said. "We all have the same goal of winning. We all bought in to work hard."
With that mentality, the Saints ripped off wins in their next 11 games to sit atop the conference heading into the GNAC tournament.
It wasn't an easy rise for the program, which won just seven combined conference games its first two years of existence.
"That's just something that a new team has to get through," Lauzier said. "Just keep listening to your coaches and your teammates. As a captain motivating the team and meeting with players and coaches when you need to. You've just gotta keep going."
This year alone, the team has surpassed that seven win total, posting a 9-0 conference record with one more GNAC game remaining.
"This year we expected a lot out of ourselves," Lauzier said. "We wanted to take it to the next level and be at the top of the conference. We have been accomplishing the goals we wanted to. We want to keep making these jumps."
Lauzier, who has started every game in the program's history in net, has been a big part of making that jump. After allowing 34 goals in the first three games, the opposition has netted just 41 goals during the 11 game-win-streak against the Saints.
"Personally I'm just really focused on the season," Lauizier said. "I've got some really good defensemen in front of me. It's hard for them to get the ball to me, which results in them not scoring as much. Having a good defense makes all the difference in the world. We have great communication. We have all the keys to defense in order to be a successful defense."
Despite the great defense, Lauzier knows that sometimes it's going to come down to him to pick up the slack and turn back a key shot from the other team.
"I think of it as the six defensemen have my back. They are really trying to protect me. If they make a mistake I try and get their back," Lauzier said. If you make a mistake I'll make the save. I might not always make the save but I am always trying to do my best to support my defense as much as they support me."
The Bedford, New Hampshire native has parlayed his defensive support and personal skills into multiple GNAC Goalie of the Week awards this season.
"It just shows that I'm stopping the ball when I need to and defense is stepping up in most games," Lauzier said. "A goalie's goals against average is a reflection of the goalie and his defense. It's a reflection of the defense but it just happens to be that the goalie is the quarterback of the defense."
This is not the first time Lauzier has helped build a program from its infancy. His high school team also started his freshman year there and in his junior season they were competing for the state title.
"It's not that I'm walking around practice saying I've been there done that, but I know what it takes to go from the bottom to the top," Lauzier said. "It takes a lot from the coaching staff and takes a lot of drive from the players."
As a team captain he has been working hard to make sure the rest of the team knows the commitment required to complete the program's growth.
"We try and stay focused in practice," Lauzier said. "We try to coach players up. We have meetings with players one-on-one to talk about things that we need them to do."
If everything goes according to plan, history will repeat itself for Lauzier and the Saints will make it to the conference championship and beyond.
*Written by GNAC Communications Specialist, Eddie Lockhart