Men’s Lacrosse Captain Adds International, DI Experience as Team Moves to NCAA Division II
After playing NCAA Division I Lacrosse at the University of Vermont and representing the German national team in three World Championships and two European Championships, Per-Anders Olters MBA ’24 joined Dominican University of California at an important time for the men’s lacrosse team, as it makes the transition from being a club sport to joining the NCAA Division II.
Per’s strong work ethic and passion for the sport quickly resonated with his teammates, who voted him in as team captain not long after practice started. It is a responsibility he relishes, determined to help elevate not only the current team but also set the tone for years to come.
“I am used to being a part of teams going through cultural changes, and I’m trying to set the foundation for the next generation of players,” he says. “We are a really dedicated team and we are all working to turn this team into a hard-working collective. Put your nose down and get the work done – that’s our focus.”
In short, he is bringing a Division 1 mindset to a team that has excelled at the club level.
“I like to harp on the message that you have to embrace hard work to be all you can be both in lacrosse and in life,” Per says. “Hard work, dedication, supporting the team – these are transferable for whatever you do in life. The skills that will breed success on the field can be used in later life – in the real world after college.”
Per is the first D1 transfer to join the men’s lacrosse team. His wealth of experience makes him a perfect mentor to the younger players, notes Samuel Vogel-Seidenberg, head men’s lacrosse coach and assistant athletic director.
“Per came in and took the lead right away, not only with his play but also his experience at the D1 level and at the international level,” Vogel-Seidenberg says. “He knows what it takes to win, and he motivated the guys right away to step up and play at a higher level. Our goal is to break that club mentality, and he is doing that day in and day out while also being there for the guys and helping them all grow as a team.”
Per’s international experience includes playing for team Germany at the 2023 summer games in San Diego (where he tied for second in the world for most goals scored); the 2018 men’s world championship in Israel; the 2022 and 2017 European championships for box (indoor) lacrosse; and the 2016 u-19 championships in Vancouver.
As a member of team Germany, he played throughout Europe, with the team often landing in the top spots. At Vermont, Per was the first German to score a goal in a Division 1 match.
Per spent his childhood in Germany. He first touched a lacrosse stick at age four and has not looked back since, playing first in summer camps and, later, the SC Frankfurt 1880 club team. While lacrosse is not a major sport in Germany, Per found opportunities that allowed him to play in tournaments throughout Europe, including Prague, Denmark, the Netherlands, Brussels, and Spain.
However, playing competitive collegiate lacrosse was not an option in Germany. So, Per took the initiative to reach out to college coaches in the United States, sending demo tapes to numerous coaches before landing at the University of Vermont.
“Playing Division I was amazing, but it is very different from playing in Germany,” he recalls. “It was almost a full time thing – playing and training. It was a huge time commitment, rigorous, tough .. and a lot of fun.”
After his undergraduate years at Vermont – where he was the first German-born player to score a goal in NCAA Division I lacrosse – Per entered the transfer portal. He was introduced to Dominican by Lukas Baildon, offensive coordinator for Dominican’s men’s team. The two had played together in Germany.
Per also was drawn by the opportunity to earn his MBA while playing lacrosse.
“I felt it was time to put getting a good advanced degree into the foreground, but to still have lacrosse in my life.”
The hybrid structure of the MBA program is allowing him the flexibility he needs to focus on lacrosse, which includes not only training with the Dominican team but also serving as a coach for several youth and club organizations, as well working part-time in Marin’s Lacrosse store.
Per is already thinking about how best to combine both his MBA and his undergraduate experiences in the University of Vermont’s hands-on community entrepreneurship program with lacrosse.
“I want to keep earning my stripes in the club world, coaching local lacrosse clubs and offering private coaching or small group coaching. If I get enough kids, I could start a lacrosse club. This is where I can bring in my MBA while creating a coaching business.”
He also would like to help the next generation of players gain the same experiences he has enjoyed at the collegiate level.
“In addition to coaching, I would like to help kids with the recruitment process and finding scholarships for college so they can try to play up. In Europe there’s a lot of talent but not a lot of schools know how to reach that talent.”
Returning to Germany to promote the game is also part of the long-term plan.
“Eventually I will go back to Europe, which will be hard because there are so many more employment opportunities in lacrosse here and a lot more ways to make a good living with the sport. But I would like to give back to the game because it has given me so much. I owe so much to German lacrosse.”
But first, Per’s focus is on Dominican.
“I want our team to become the very best Division II team in the state. I’d like to see this program be the hotbed for lacrosse in California and to see our name up there in the rankings. I believe we can be a winning program, and I believe it is our responsibility right now to set the foundation for the next generation to continue to go upward.”