MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – For the second year in a row, the coaching staff of the Wesleyan University men's lacrosse team was crowned the Northeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year by the Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA).
Led by Head Coach John Raba, the 2018 Cardinals' staff also consisted of assistant coaches Will Pilat, Will Parker, Torrey Martone, Rick McCarthy, Bill Els, Elijah Weeks and Peter Vlahakis.
Coming off a historic 2017 season in which Wesleyan won a program record 20 games while going 20-2, reaching the NCAA Semifinals and winning the NESCAC Championship, expectations were high for the 2018 campaign and the Cardinals lived up to the hype by winning their first-ever NCAA national title. Wesleyan had arguably the toughest road to the championship game but knocked off SUNY Cortland and No. 8 Cabrini at home, before upsetting No. 2 Tufts and No. 1 RIT on the road to reach the finals at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. In the national championship, Wesleyan defeated two-time defending champs and No. 3 Salisbury, 8-6.
The Cardinals finished the year with a 19-3 mark and tied a program record with nine NESCAC victories, finishing 9-1 in the league en route to the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament for the first time in program history. Wesleyan advanced to the finals for the second year in a row before falling short to Tufts. The Cardinals also claimed their second consecutive Little Three title outright in 2018 with wins over Williams (9-8) and then-No. 7 Amherst (12-11).
Additionally, the 2018 season marked another historic milestone for Head Coach John Raba, as he became the winningest coach in NESCAC history. Raba has compiled an incredible 265-113 (.701) record in 22 seasons at the helm of the program. Under Raba's guidance, the Cardinals have finished below .500 just once—his first year taking over—while posting 18 winnings seasons, four Final Four appearances, two NESCAC Championships, nine Little Three titles and one National Championship.