What does it take to to play collegiate lacrosse? At Sonoma State University you better have a strong promise of commitment with an even larger capacity for accountability.
The players of the Sonoma State lacrosse team face off at more than just level of play. Each team member keeps one another responsible for their actions on and off the field.
“My best friends are on the team and these guys would do anything for me as I would for them,” said senior attacker Brad Bochesa.
Bochesa is a captain for the Seawolves with achievements as high as offensive player of the year to first-team all-conference attack.
“I came to Sonoma State for the purpose of playing lacrosse,” said Bochesa.
Recruiting starts well into high school for some players. Head Coach Panchito Ojeda gives potential prospects phone calls and emails throughout their high school seasons.
Ojeda remains active with players, keeps in contact with them, and helps the players make their final decision.
A new weapon was added to the lacrosse team’s arsenal this year. Mike Harris, or “Big Mike,” is a senior defender on the Sonoma State lacrosse team. This is Harris’ first year playing lacrosse.
“I have never seen someone pick up a stick as quickly as Big Mike,” said senior midfielder Justin Hong. “Big Mike holds a strong presence on the defensive side of the ball.”
Harris averaged nine points and three rebounds a game in his two years playing basketball for Sonoma State. After his basketball playing days were over at Sonoma State, Harris decided to put down the basketball and pick up a lacrosse stick.
“Since I had a year of school left I thought that trying out for a club sport would be a fun way to finish up college,” said Harris.
The transition of sports may seem like a lot for some, but not for Harris. He not only learned the game of lacrosse, but also has found his way into the starting lineup.
There is a glaring theme of family amongst the teammates.
“Frankly, I hadn’t heard of the university other than the Lacrosse team being solid,” said Bochesa. “It’s a true family atmosphere with a lot of love for each other.”
Players participate in countless hours of community service in the North Bay, mainly participating in bettering youth sports.
Many players feel fortunate to have made the connections and bonds with their teammates, holding each other liable for different tasks, like mandatory study halls weekly.
Coach Ojeda preaches a strong annunciation in the student portion of student-athlete. There is a minimum requirement of a 2.0 GPA to be an eligible participant.
“Being a part of this team has taught me values that formed my character,” said Hong. “These values such as leadership, respect, imagination, courage and selflessness are just few of the great traits that are used in this game.”
The players love to see the fans out on Saturdays lining the field with positive energy.
The next game for the Sonoma lacrosse team is scheduled for April 16. They will take on the Stanford Cardinal at home that Saturday.