EVERETT — The Washington Stealth had hoped tonight’s National Lacrosse League game with the Buffalo Bandits would be for the league’s final playoff spot, but thanks to Buffalo’s victory over Rochester last Saturday, the game is nothing more than the season finale.
Washington head coach Chris Hall said despite the fact the Stealth’s season will end with the final whistle, it’s important for his team to be ready to play.
“It’s a matter of pride,” Hall said. “It’s a matter of having a sense in yourself that you need to compete every time you step on the floor. Never should you have a sense that something is meaningless.”
For a Stealth franchise that made it to the past two NLL championship games, saying a 4-11 record is a disappointment is an understatement. Hall said his team owes it to the ownership, fans and sponsors to be prepared tonight.
“We need to perform the best we can for those that invest in us in whatever form they do,” Hall said. “I would be more than disappointed if we didn’t put our best foot forward.”
Hall said this season has been one of the most disappointing of his coaching career. The Stealth were never able to take advantage of opportunities to get back in the playoff picture, he said.
“We had an opportunity to right the ship and get ourselves into a playoff position,” he said.
But that never came to fruition. The Stealth suffered injuries, inconsistent play and uncharacteristic penalties that hindered their ability to get back in the race.
Hall said his team can’t use those as excuses.
“Other teams found ways to answer the bell and we did not,” he said. “That’s pretty disappointing.”
A win tonight won’t make up for the season’s disappointment, but Hall said it is important for his team to end the season on the right note in front of the home crowd.
“They believed in us,” he said. “They supported us. And quite frankly we have let them down so far this year. We need to show them that we’ve got some fight in us.”
Aaron Lommers covers the Washington Stealth for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.