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.
Midfielder – #2
Blog 4 – A Weekend to Forget (But Also Remember)
I originally had written a two page analysis of what went wrong this weekend, but realized that if we want to win, we need to stop making excuses for ourselves and just let it all hang out. If you have been on any lacrosse website in the past two weeks, you know that February is when teams start to find their identity. So much hype was surrounding our matchup versus Denver asking, “Can Lehigh keep their spot among the game’s elites,” “Do they have what it takes to remain unbeaten?” etc. After coming from the ground up into the nation spotlight as a result of last season’s success, we found ourselves in an unfamiliar position near the top of the polls. A lot of our achievements last year were a direct result of the underdog mentality that came with our group getting no respect from the collective lacrosse community. Something Coach Cassese said early this preseason was that this year, there is a target placed on Lehigh Lacrosse. He added that this factor is two fold, and you can either have the target on your back, unaware of the other teams trying to take you down, or a target on your chest, being aware and never letting your guard down no matter who the opponent is. Unfortunately, we found ourselves with the target on our backs this weekend, going 0-2 against two quality opponents.
In the Denver game, our energy and play was high for three quarters as we found ourselves down by only two goals. In the fourth quarter, we lost steam and DU took control. Dan Taylor (who has a Manti-esque relationship with some girl from the Great White North, we’ll call her Lennay for now) was one of the few guys who shined and went 3 and 1 with several hard rides. We understood that Denver was a good team but that by no means were they unbeatable. The team tried to take the loss in stride and move on, because awaiting us in 16 hours was a game against Air Force. We quickly put that game behind us with help from a great dinner at Maggiano’s with the parents who were able to come out to support us in Colorado. It’s unbelievable to have the type of backing we get as players by our parents who go to such lengths to support the Mountain Hawks. (Shoutout to Mr. DiMaria for catching his son’s game in Durham, North Carolina, then catching a red eye to make our tilt out in Denver. An admirable performance no doubt.) After dinner, we headed back to the hotel where we dove right into the Air Force scout for some film and game planning. Coach Cassese assured us that this was not a team to be taken lightly and as we watched film, it became evident that Air Force was no joke.
After an unbelievable pillow talk sesh the night before with my man Alex “Shelia” Eaton, our wake up call came in at 7:30 a.m. After a quick glance outside, we noticed that Denver had welcomed a massive blizzard overnight, which put our game time and location in a bind. After sitting in DU’s spacious locker room for about an hour (shout out to DU women’s soccer- I actually googled a couple of the girl’s names and fell in love – in the least creepy way possible) we found out that we would be traveling to Air Force to play in their indoor facility. Long story short, our heads weren’t entirely there for the game and we took an L. Hats off to Air Force for a gritty performance. One bright spot was senior goalie Griffin Farha, who was subbed into the game with five minutes left in the second quarter and made several big stops. Griff also won the Hard Hat this week as a tribute to his preparation and hard work. On a quick side note, Griff is in the running for most athletic relationship on campus, as his beautiful girlfriend Becky Guman is a star captain on the Lehigh Women’s Basketball Team. As well as he played however, Air Force still took it to us. Walking off that field and looking back on the weekend with not one, but two losses was a gut wrenching feeling. Players slowly started to realize that something needed to be changed.
On Monday we had off, and morale was a bit low. Thoughts swirled throughout my head, as I felt very responsible for not making sure the guys were ready to play. We met again on Tuesday for a lift and film, and took our aggression out on the weight room. Eric (our trainer) had a beast lift waiting for us and we attacked it. Instead of film, we had a players’ only meeting (similar to last year). Like my man Lil Wayne said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t break it, if it ain’t shook, don’t shake it.” This players’ only meeting worked perfectly for us last year, so we decided as a team to do it again. Guys on the team talked about what we thought was going wrong, and also individuals were called out. It went extremely well and it was great to hash out our problems and think about what enabled us to turn the corner last year, and how we have strayed away from that a bit. We are a blue-collar team, and as Jimmy Cahill said, “We are like an old-school mustang, not a Ferrari.” We need all 48 guys working as hard as possible to make sure our engine roars. We realized all of our goals were still in reach, and it’s better to take two losses in February than March.
On Wednesday, we had a great practice. We went back to our roots, which was ground balls. We got crushed on the ground this weekend, and that has to change. After that, we scrimmaged each other to get the awful taste from the weekend out of our mouth. Chris “The Shire” Rinaldi had 2 absolute rips, as he stung the corner on both of them. Chris definitely has the best practice celebrations in the country, no questions asked. Practice Player of the Day went to Ryan Buttenbaum as he had a great showing at the faceoff X. It’s a great feeling to see guys who have put in their dues crush it out on the field. This week, all of our focus is now solely on VMI and getting the fly-wheel back on track. That’s all for this week, and next week the Hawks will have better news to report. #Don’tCallItAComeBack