A look into Kentucky lacrosse


Mac Moore, Reporter

This spring, the University of Kentucky mens lacrosse team will set its eyes on returning to Annapolis, Maryland, for the Naptown National Challenge, and they need Big Blue Nation’s help to get there.

The lacrosse team has been around for over 30 years and is currently a member of the Division 2 Midwest South Conference in the National College Lacrosse League (NCLL).

Coach Taylor McCoun leads the team, entering his second season as head coach. McCoun was assistant coach for five seasons before taking the reins.

McCoun collaborates with team captain JT Mooser, a junior finance and marketing major, who has played midfield since his freshman year and is stepping up this season as one of the team’s captains. McCoun said he appointed Mooser as a captain this season for his ability to use his voice to lead the team on and off the field.

The two main goals that McCoun and Mooser set for the team were to “return to Annapolis” and “beat Louisville.”

While beating Louisville is a common goal for each Kentucky team, the stakes of the match are higher for the men’s lacrosse team.

Each year, the team squares off against the Cardinals for the Midwest South Championship, with the winning team going to the Naptown National Championship in Annapolis.

This past year, the Wildcats welcomed quarterback Will Levis to their showdown with the Cardinals along with a loud turnout from Big Blue Nation. The Cardinals ended the team’s season, but Mooser was still proud of the large student turnout.

“It shows that the game is growing, and it shows that people care about us as a team,” he said. “It’s nice to know that people are paying attention to us and nice to get some exposure to the student body.”

McCound and Mooser said that there are still many students that are unaware that the University of Kentucky has a lacrosse team, even though the culture of the team sets them apart from other teams.

Mooser said that he and his teammates are “a good mesh and a melting pot of personalities, and you would’ve thought that they have all been friends since birth.”

McCoun and Mooser also said the team grows together off the field through McCoun’s “quote of the week,” team dinners, alumni games and more.

“The way these guys deliver the sport of lacrosse along with how they push themselves to their potential is what makes this team unique,” McCoun said.

The team is expecting a few road trips this upcoming season, including a trip to Ole Miss that Mooser said the whole team is excited for.

“Some of the best moments with my teammates come on our road trips. This is when we bond together the most,” he said.

Along with the road trips, dinners and alumni games, McCoun and his players are holding their first annual golf scramble fundraiser on Nov. 5. McCoun also said that this year, he plans to hold more community service events with the team to give back to the state of Kentucky.

The team’s opponents this year are some familiar faces in Lexington such as Tennessee, LSU and Vanderbilt. The team is expecting its schedule for this season to be released in the first week of January 2023.

Mooser said he looks forward to being a captain for his team this year, and he has already developed a plan to ensure the team’s success.

“(I want to) lead by example and hold everyone accountable, including myself,” he said.