“I think we’ve just got to bare down and execute, it’ll just come down to the intangible things like loose ball, hard work, communication throughout our team,” says sophomore Greg Lunde.
He’s talking about what the team has to do to win an important conference game later in the season, one that he figures SFU will need to win if they hope to make the playoffs. The lacrosse team is 1–3 in conference play, and likely needs to win out the rest of their in-conference games (four of them) for a shot at postseason glory.
“We’ve really struggled with scoring on our chances so our defence and our goalies have been playing great so we just got to bare down and execute on our plays and make sure we score when we have the chances,” he explains.
Talking to him, though, he sounds less like a player only in his second year on the team, but a leader — a coach, even.
And perhaps that’s by design. In addition to his role as an attackman on the team, the 6’1 business student also devotes his time to coaching the game he’s played for 14 years.
He started coaching box lacrosse — not field, the version SFU plays — for his club team, the Port Coquitlam Saints. His first students were peewees — 12-year-olds.
“I had an A1 team which was the highest level at the time, so I really enjoyed that. That was my first real experience, so I wasn’t too in a serious position, which was great because it allowed me to bond with the guys, make good connections, and just be myself on the floor. So actually I still kind of mentor and see the guys I coached that first year.”
Throughout the years, Lunde has coached a variety of different teams.
“Second year I coached a bantam team, that was a little bit of a lower division, [. . .] great learning experience and they were a bit more of beginners so I got to tailor my communication and teaching style to more beginner levels,” he notes. “Then last year I had midgets which were 16 year olds, which is quite a jump. They were good guys again and they already knew the game.”
Recently, he’s been coaching with the Burnaby Mountain Selects. Lunde got to travel with the team to San Diego, and was able to specialize, teaching them how to attack.
Just because he’s caught the coaching bug, doesn’t mean he’s not an effective player on the field. Greg co-leads the lacrosse Clan in goals, and is second on the team in points.
Over the years, Greg has represented BC multiple times.
“It was awesome. In peewee, so when I was 12 years old, we actually ended up beating Ontario because Ontario and BC are kind of the two powerhouses. We beat Ontario in the final and that was the first time BC had ever won,” he says. “I played at the provincial level when I was 12, 14, and 16.”
“This season [. . .] I kind of took more of a leader role, and I think the guys saw that.”
However, BC isn’t the highest level he’s played for. That honour, he says, is reserved for Team Canada at the U19 Indoor Games last summer, an opportunity he received through former SFU assistant coach Chris Fox.
“He reached out to me and got a group of guys together. It was a really unique experience because it was more of a handpicked team, and then we got to play against Ontario — Ontario was the other kind-of Canadian team — we got to play against a whole bunch of Iroquois teams, the States, Germany, Israel, teams from all over Europe.”
The team did quite well, even beating the other Canadian team 5–4 in the finals.
“We won gold,” Lunde explains. “We beat the Americans in the semi-final, pretty handedly because the Americans are actually more field lacrosse based, it was box lacrosse we were playing, so we played them in the semi-final, we beat them, and then we actually ended up playing Ontario in the final and beat them pretty marginally, but it was awesome.”
The drive that he’s displayed playing lacrosse, and in coaching, also shows up in his academic pursuits. He entered SFU with a variety of scholarships, including the Gordon M. Shrum entrance award.
“I didn’t really get too sidetracked with social aspects,” he says with a laugh.
When he lists the reasons why he is pursuing accounting as his future career, the player, coach, and academic in Lunde all connect.
“What draws me to that is both, it’s very competitive, for the CPA background, so I’m drawn to it just from that point of view,” Lunde explains. “Also there’s the numbers side of view which I’ve kind of thrived at my entire life, but there’s also the social and client-facing aspect which I really like, because throughout my life I’ve worked in customer service and dealing with clients, so I see myself doing that in the future and helping out clients — potentially going into consulting and seeing their business and how they work.”
But for now, he’s focused on helping his team anyway he can.
“I think last season I wasn’t quite aware of what my role was, I was able to step into a great role — a starting position — and really made an impact, but I was really nervous and didn’t really solidify my role until the middle of the season,” he says. “This season, although I wasn’t officially a leader, I kind of took more of a leader role and I think the guys saw that.”
And though he admits it might be a “stretch” this year, it all comes back to one goal.
“I really want my team to go to nationals.”