TACOMA, Wash. — The senior class of 2020 had their season stolen from them.
For reasons outside of their control, they will never be able to pursue goals for which they worked so hard.
As part of a recurring segment for the remainder of this spring, coaches have the opportunity to thank their seniors one last time.
Continuing the series is Pacific Lutheran coach Kevin Rose honoring his four seniors.
#13 Nicholas Demers, Defense
Lake Forest Park, Wash. (Shorecrest)
It's hard to put into words the type of impact Nick has had on our team and me as a coach. He's the type of guy every coach wants, and so often these are the same guys that every employer wants post-college.
The work ethic, mental toughness, dedication and coach-ability are second to none. So much so, our team has coined the term 'Nick D'ed' as a way of expressing or highlighting a scenario whereby one person or player was shown-up by any person or player. Used in a sentence, "You just got Nick D'ed, Bro!"
Never satisfied but always appreciative of the journey. As a coach, watching Nick progress from having very little lacrosse experience coming into the program, to be able to see the years of hard work translate to the field in a very competitive league in his senior season, is so rewarding and I think is most of the reason why I coach.
Very rare that you can tell a guy that he needs to work on X and Y to take his game to the next level and watch them immediately incorporate X and Y and abandon all prior habits at the drop of a hat -- next level coach-ability.
It's a very steep trajectory to get to his skill level in under three years, starting with little lacrosse experience, especially these days -- and he did it!
Two-time captain and goal scorer of one, the team and I will miss his leadership, his energy, his well-rounded taste for music on road trips, his timeliness, availability (seemingly always hurt in some capacity, but NEVER missed a game), and most importantly, his unique dichotomy of intensity and sense of humor.
#2 Kenneth Wakefield, Midfield
Hoquiam, Wash. (Hoquiam)
Having never played lacrosse and starting his junior year, Kenny was voted as a captain for his senior year. Should I stop there?
His leadership, empathy and ability to learn and adapt extremely quickly stems from an incredible upbringing and career in the service; and it translated flawlessly to the lacrosse field.
From day one, I always sensed an experienced and veteran mentality, so much so I almost immediately thrust Kenny in with the other vets on our team.
We make a big deal of rookie or first-time goal scorers in our program, and I make it a point to get real excited about this for our guys. In his first time playing lacrosse, in a fall tournament, while working through the issues every coach has during a fall tournament and the craziness that takes place on the sideline, apparently Kenny scored a goal. He looked over to our sideline ... crickets.
I really didn't know who scored and generally rookies with no experience don't score often, let alone in their first game in the fall. Well, I won't ever live that one down. Sorry, buddy. But thank you for reminding me of this at nearly every interaction!
I expect Kenny to excel post-grad, no matter what career path he takes, because he has a fire that is truly hard to find in student athletes (at least in my experience) these days. We will miss you, Cap.
#28 Jeff Lozensky, Midfield
Lake Stevens, Wash. (Lake Stevens)
I am still quite impressed with any student's ability to compete in dual sports at PLU. Jeff has been a longtime swimmer and has played 3 years of lacrosse at PLU.
As you can imagine, he is bred to compete. Luckily enough, and with two years of eligibility, we will retain Jeff for next year as a grad student. There is no question he was one of the guys on the team that you have to have.
Go to work, do your job, tough as nails, and have a little fun along the way.
Not short-changing his senior class note, but despite him being a senior, we have been lucky to have him and would miss him greatly if he weren't able to come back next year.
#10 Kekoa Vieira, Midfield
Honolulu, Hawaii (Punahou)
Persistence, resilience, and fight. Another multi-sport student athlete who quite simply has a unique fire to compete and the desire to be better, no matter what the circumstances.
Any time at practices or games, he always brings mission-oriented focus with next level coachability.
I am greatly disappointed that his senior season was cut short as I felt like we were just beginning to see his leadership and lacrosse skills blossom.
Kekoa has been a true asset to our team in many ways, both on and off the field. We will miss his confidence and willingness to get out on the field like he'd been doing it his whole life.
I trust he will excel post-graduation, no matter where his career takes him.