WINGATE — Wins have been aplenty inside Irwin Belk Stadium the past few months as Wingate University’s lacrosse programs are having one of its most successful years in program history.
With a combined 18-0 record in South Atlantic Conference games this season (25-3 overall), the Bulldogs men’s and women’s lacrosse teams have won their regular season conference titles and are both ranked in the top 10 of the NCAA Division II national rankings as SAC Tournament play awaits.
Coach Tim Boyle and his fifth-ranked men’s team (11-1, 9-0 SAC) wrapped up their first undefeated conference schedule on April 15, cruising to a 24-7 home victory over Coker for their 10th consecutive win.
The Bulldogs locked up their fifth SAC title in program history; the team now has two regular season championships along with three SAC Tournament championships.
Wingate will finish its regular season schedule on April 22 with a noon visit from fourth-ranked UIndy before getting ready for the SAC Tournament on April 25-30.
On the same day that the Wingate men’s team won its regular season title, coach Abby Wiley and the 10th-ranked women’s team (14-2, 9-0 South Atlantic Conference) also defeated Coker to earn their 10th straight win, guaranteeing a share of the regular season title with a 22-2 victory.
Wingate can claim the outright conference championship on April 22 at Limestone when the first-place Bulldogs are hosted by the third-place Saints.
As far as individual honors, Bulldog graduate student face-off specialist James Kotcamp was recently named the Varsity Gems South Atlantic Conference men’s lacrosse Specialist of the Week. Kotcamp earned SAC weekly honors for the first time this season and the second time in his career.
Meanwhile, the accolades keep pouring in for Wingate All-American midfielder Leah Knowles, who was named the Varsity Gems South Atlantic Conference women’s lacrosse Defensive Player of the Week for the fourth consecutive week. The senior from Hickory received that honor for the sixth time in her career.
She was also named the National Player of the Week by USA Lacrosse Magazine and the National Defensive Player of the Week by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association.
“What an amazing accomplishment for Leah to be recognized nationally back-to-back weeks,” Wiley said in a university press release. “She is such a special person on and off the field, she constantly pushes everyone to be the best they can be.”
Knowles has 47 goals, 19 assists, 99 draw controls, 45 caused turnovers and 33 ground balls this season, ranking third in the SAC in goals, points and draw controls, as well as ranking sixth in assists and eighth in ground balls.