On March 23, men’s lacrosse player Will Byrne ’24 netted five goals and assisted on six more in a 23-16 win over Western New England University. The Polar Bears are off to a red-hot 8-0 start, and much of their success can be attributed to Byrne’s stellar run of form.
With his performance last Wednesday, Byrne tied a school record of 11 points in a single game, a tally that has only been achieved twice before—once in 1979 and again in 1995. Against Wesleyan University this past Saturday, Byrne scored two goals and contributed five more assists, leading Bowdoin over the then-16th-ranked Cardinals.
Following the win, Bowdoin jumped to #11 in the national Division III lacrosse rankings.
This is Byrne’s first lacrosse season at Bowdoin and his first full season since his junior year of high school, the past three years having been disrupted by Covid-19.
“Despite the fact that [not playing lacrosse] was really hard right away, the health and safety of my family and friends was really on my mind,” Byrne said. “When the world shuts down like [it did in March 2020], you kind of look at the bigger picture. There’s a lot of people going through a lot more.”
Many others on the team have dealt with similar breaks in their careers, with the seniors on the team being the only class to experience a full college season. For Byrne, being away from the team only made him more excited to start playing together this year.
“For those years, we were all building up to what we have put together so far this season,” Byrne said.
The team placed a heavy emphasis on its offseason training regiment over the past two years, and Byrne credits his teammates for holding each other accountable throughout their time apart. Team fitness tests and challenges, as well as practicing with other college players during his time off campus played a large part in Byrne’s improvement while being away from the team.
This training not only proved fruitful, but the sharing of training videos and other offseason communication strengthened bonds between Byrne and his teammates. This, in addition to senior leadership, allowed underclassmen to not skip a beat.
“I have to hand it to our captains and our seniors, who have done an unbelievable job making it really feel like we have been here for longer than one season,” Byrne said.
For Byrne, there isn’t much of a difference between his own goals and the hopes he has for the team.
“Looking at the bigger picture, we want to win as many games as we possibly can and hopefully win the national championship,” Byrne said. “Everything’s lined up for us to make a really deep run, but we’re really just taking it game by game right now.”
With the way the team has been playing recently, those goals are well within reach. The team will look to continue its undefeated run against Amherst College this Saturday.