It’s the quarterfinals match between Western’s men’s lacrosse team and North Dakota State. The score is tied 11-11 in overtime and senior midfielder Michael Hatcher gets the ball. He sets a dodge around the Bison’s defense and buries a goal to win the game.
“That’s just the type of player he was,” junior midfielder Justin Ross, said. “He’s the type of guy you want to give the ball to when the game is tight.”
Hatcher has been recognized for his performance and was awarded First Team All-American Midfielder for the 2015 Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association.
A lot of people think that it is an individual achievement, but it’s a whole team effort, Hatcher said. “You only get that recognition if you’ve got a good team to make it far and that’s what happened with us.”
The 2015 season was the closest the men’s team has gotten to the national title, ultimately losing to Concordia, 15-8, in the Final Four. The team’s overall record was 12-4 and was undefeated in the division.
Hatcher chose to play lacrosse in the sixth grade after playing baseball the previous year. While hanging out with friends who played lacrosse, he tried out the sport and picked it up fast. Originally from Issaquah, Washington, Hatcher came to Western in 2011 with no intention of playing lacrosse until he met the team’s captain while on the turf field with friends.
“He came up and approached us and said, ‘You guys should come out for fall ball,’ and I did and I liked it,” Hatcher said.
Over the four years playing lacrosse at Western, Hatcher has seen the team become closer and develop in skill.
“I think the biggest thing is we kept gaining talent and throughout the four years, we have gotten used to each other to help develop a leadership perspective on and off the field,” Hatcher said.
During Hatcher’s time with the men’s lacrosse team, he developed into a leadership role, Ross said.
“If he saw something that needed to be corrected, he’d speak up and everyone would be quick to listen,” Ross said. “He just exemplified what he wanted as captain and that’s why he was captain.”
“The last two years he’s developed tremendous on-field leadership,” head coach Adam Lent said. “When we need something to happen, we can count on Michael to have the ball and the stick and make something of it.”
Hatcher plans to continue playing lacrosse after he graduates this spring in a men’s league and coach at a high school summer camp in Issaquah.