The 2013 season is here and we wanted to work closely with college programs to bring a part of the excitement to you. Throughout the 2013 season we will highlight lacrosse programs on our space for all of our readers to follow. Player blogs serve as a unique outlet for programs to showcase their season as it develops, plus highlight everything they have to offer a student-athlete. In contrast, families and fans get a glimpse into the program’s athletic and academic regimen.
Senior – #19 – Midfield
After the Sunday victory over Bryant, we were fortunate (or NCAA mandated) to receive a day off on Monday from lacrosse activities. The break gave some players a chance to rest and recoup after the tough overtime victory, while other guys used the time to lift and get in extra skill work. The day off was short lived as an 11:30 film session came quickly on Tuesday. The mid day film session allowed us to look at film from the Bryant game, “put that game to bed” as Coach Murphy likes to say, and then move on to the Vermont Catamounts. Receiving weekly honors for the Bryant week were #40 Geoff “Squid” Sullivan earning practice player of the week, and Jimmy Ryan and Matt Clarkson splitting player of the game honors as they combined for 9 goals out of the midfield. Before practice on Tuesday we began our preparation for Vermont with a film session on their personnel. Despite defeating Vermont last year at home, there is still some unfinished business with these Catamounts as last time we traveled to Burlington they took it to us. That loss possibly cost us a trip to the NCAA tournament in 2011, and was something we were not going to let happen to the 2013 Raiders.
The slightly shorter practice week kicked off with transition play as Omaha and the “Bosco” drill were on the practice plan. I was sure to text former teammate #2 Robbie Bosco that he’s made the practice plan, obviously quite an honor. We ended Tuesday’s practice with a Maroon White scrum, but this time several parameters were put in to place by head scorer Coach Murphy. A couple of the parameters included ride back and transition goals having added value, while other parameters were more specific such as forcing Jimmy Ryan and Matt Clarkson to score with their off hands. Powered by a late ride back/transition goal the Maroon team won the scrimmage over the White team. We began our on the field introduction to Vermont on Wednesday going over their plays and tendencies. Being Vermont’s first opponent this season we could not be too sure of how they would attack us, and thus as normal had to focus on internally getting better each day and not completely worrying about the opponent. Thursday’s practice began with about an hour of skill work and then more preparation for the game. To the boy’s excitement we were finally able to have an outdoor pregame practice on Friday, and were able to pull out some of our favorite drills such as “Full Farts”, “4 Corners Extended” and “Last Touch”. Before leaving the practice field on Friday we were broken down by Senior Robbie Grabher. Rob reminded us of the bulls eye on our back when we travel to face opponents, and that our best effort is always needed to earn a “W”. After Robbie’s breakdown the Raiders hit the showers, and were shirt and tie on the bus to Burlington Vermont.
The trip was another lone one, spanning almost 7 hours including our dinner stop in Saratoga Springs. We enjoyed a fine performance by Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, while we were rather disgusted and confused from the second movie choice Prometheus. After lobbying hard for Prometheus to be played on the bus, Senior Dennis “The Future” Brown was sound asleep leaving the rest of the team to struggle through the sci-fi flick. We got to The Hilton hotel in Burlington at around 11:15, meaning it was right to our rooms and lights out before the Saturday matchup with the Catamounts.
After breakfast in the hotel we arrived at the University of Vermont Athletic complex around 11 in the morning to get ready for the game. Despite being forced to change and stretch in very close proximity to young “mite” hockey players and their families, all the raiders were able to do what they needed to in order to be ready for the 1:00 start time. Small or Public lockerooms are not so uncommon as the division 1 lacrosse life is not always as glamorous and exclusive as other major division 1 sports. Saturday was Vermont’s opening game and we knew they would come out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the new season. All week we talked about getting off to a fast start and continuing to attack the Catamounts. Once the opening whistle blew we were able to obtain that fast start we were looking for as we came out to an early 2-0 lead, but extending that lead proved to be difficult as the Catamounts hung tough. After a first half score of 5-5, we knew we could play better, and most importantly we knew we could play tougher, as the Catamounts were out groundballing us, a statistic we never want to be on the short end of. Fiery half time speeches from all three coaches payed dividends as we took the lead early in the third quarter and never looked back. The final score was 13-7 highlighted by Junior Brendan McCann who scored five goals in the second half. Brendan’s strong play jumpstarted the guys on the field and off it, as the sideline continued to chant, “Yes we McCann” after his tallies. McCann’s fellow attackmen chipped in on the scoring front as well, while Senior midfielder Connor “The Legend” Brown netted his first goal of the year marking his return from ACL surgery late last spring.
Overall the game proved to be a solid road victory for our team. While we would have liked a more consistent effort throughout the game, Vermont played well, and it seemed to take us a half to really start playing at our maximum effort level. Most importantly, we refused to leave with that same sour feeling in our mouth as we did in 2011, this time the final score was going to be in favor of the Raiders. While we were able to settle our score with the Catamounts, a different opponent lies ahead of us next week that we certainly have some unfinished business with, The Dartmouth Big Green.