The Fighting Bees men’s lacrosse team is coming off a spectacular 2021 season. They were runners-up in conference, finished Ranked 5th in the nation and made their first-ever national tournament appearance.
Heading into 2022 the Fighting Bees are looking to make even more noise in the NAIA as they start the season ranked 7th and take on five ranked opponents including conference rival 5th ranked Columbia College, and 2nd ranked Indiana Tech.
I sat down with senior defenseman Joe Henderson to talk about the team and his time here at Ambrose.
What made you feel like St. Ambrose was the place for you?
“From an Athletic standpoint I knew the team was a fit right away, I meshed with the guys there was just instant chemistry. As for the school itself, it just sort of had the feeling. I’m not sure how to describe it, other than everything just sort of aligns in your favor when you visit the place. ”
How has this team improved since you’ve been here?
“The year before I got here the team finished just above .500 and we brought in some young talent. Unfortunately, my freshman season wasn’t spectacular and it felt like we had taken a step back. Thankfully the following seasons we took that as a time to truly prove ourselves to the NAIA, now we’re nationally ranked.”
What standouts about St. Ambrose?
“Honestly, I would say the academics. It is both very hands-on as well as very inclusive. I think the smaller class sizes allow for a more personal feel. It really allows me to soak in everything I am learning and ask the questions that I need to ask to further my understanding.”
Does the school offer a good balance between school and sports?
“Absolutely, I mean I would think you would have to with a large chunk of the school being athletes. The professors I have had are usually understanding and willing to work with you. If you have to miss a game, no big deal, need a small extension? You got it. They really try to make sure they can accommodate you within reason.”
What is your favorite memory with the team?
“Probably when we finally beat our first ranked opponents in team history shortly before the pandemic. It is sort of bittersweet. We came out and made team history and were ranked 9th in the nation right as the pandemic hit. Always makes you think what could have been. Thankfully we haven’t lost a step”
What is something you’re going to miss here at Ambrose?
“It’s definitely going to be hanging out with the team. All that downtime on the bus or in line at practice. Those stupid jokes and conversations, finding yourself getting food with a random group of guys from the team and it turning out to be a total blast. That entire team setting is going to be something that will be hard to recreate ”
What’s one piece of advice for student-athletes here at St. Ambrose?
“Work hard and don’t take it for granted. Losing a season because of Covid is rough but pretty soon it will be the last time I put the pads on for Ambrose and that hurts to think about. Play every play like it’s your last.”