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
Since losing in the NCAA quarterfinals to the Duke Blue Devils last May, all of our efforts have been gearing up for our next competition. That competition – an opening season game against the Bryant Bulldogs. Last season we beat the Bulldogs at home in a close affair, and we expected a similar type of game this year in Smithfield, Rhode Island. While our offseason, fall, and preseason efforts have been intended on preparing for this contest, starting on Monday we began our true week of preparation for Bryant. Coach Murphy gave his closing thoughts on the Albany scrimmage in our pre-Monday practice meeting, with face off man Robbie Grabher earning player of the game honors against Albany, and Freshman goalie Gordon “Gordo” Santry earning practice player of the week recognition. Those weekly awards marked the end of the preseason, and the beginning of the 2013 regular season for the Colgate Raiders.
With still a whole school week before the game, Monday’s practice was an up and down high tempo practice. Early in practice we worked on our groundball play with the drill Maroon Ground Balls, and later we ended with a controlled scrum where we worked on our riding and clearing. Just as we did last season when we had Saturday games we introduced the preparation for our opponent on Tuesday. This gives us the opportunity to begin to learn their personnel and team tendencies. One of those tendencies for Bryant included the sporadic implementation of a 10-man ride, which we were forced to practice clearing against on Tuesday and throughout the week. Coach Starsia especially enjoyed having his white stallions run the 10-man ride against the first teamers, as riding and clearing can be considered a hobby of his. We continued our preparation for Bryant as the week continued and were even awarded an extra day of practice as the impending snowfall from Nemo forced the game to be moved to Sunday. The Sunday game allowed us to spread out our preparation for Bryant, and thus we had slightly shorter practices leading up to the game at the end of the week. Still, the extra day wait felt like an eternity as we had been waiting for this opportunity since we came back to campus in the fall. After captain Jimmy Queeney broke the team down following our pregame practice on Saturday, the team was fired up and ready to depart for Bryant University on Saturday afternoon.
With poor road conditions following the storm, the trip to Bryant was a long one as it spanned a little under 6 hours. We continued back-to-back solid movie performances, with the playing of Ted and The Bourne Legacy. Some of the older guys were keeping entertained by playing Pokémon in the back of the bus, but for their sake I will keep those names confidential. By around 9 at night we arrived in Providence, about 25 minutes from the Bryant campus, where we stayed in a very nice but possibly “haunted” hotel. The old fashioned hotel was giving some of the guys the creeps, especially senior Mike Thomas who was thrown off by the long hallways and oversized chairs in the rooms. Haunted or not I believe everyone got a good night sleep before the game (Once that 5 OT Notre Dame Louisville game finally ended!).
Finally Sunday arrived with the Raiders chomping at the bit to play their first game of the season. The Bryant University event staff did a superb job clearing the fields and the stands, allowing both teams the opportunity to get their season underway. Not only did both teams deserve to be grateful, so did all lacrosse fans around the country tuning in to the game as it turned out to be a memorable opening season game for both programs. The Bulldogs sported their home white uniforms while we were rocking our alternate Black uniforms. Fortunately we came out on top of the thrilling affair, earning ourselves a14-13 victory in overtime. The game was back and forth, with Bryant scoring two late goals to send the game into overtime. But when it was all said and done, Junior Captain Jimmy “JR” Ryan sealed the game with a lefty rip that found the back of the net. No matter when it happens, an overtime win is an overtime win, and moments after Jimmy Ryan ended the game, the team ran onto the field to celebrate and jiggle as a team. Gordon Santry had a tremendous first collegiate start in goal for us, and Matt Clarkson’s great preseason carried over to the season opener, as he netted a career high 5 goals. It was also a heart-renching first game for the team’s new trainer Cody Herbert, leader of “The Walking Wounded” or as I like to call them, “Cody’s Crew”. Talking with Cody after the game he told me was happy we won, but hopes that our future contests are not as nerve wracking.
As we expected Bryant proved to be a very formidable opponent, and one we may very well could see later in the season. Both teams played extremely hard and at a very fast pace. While we are very pleased to start the season with a win, we know we have to improve in all areas of the field, and learn from the mistakes made in this victory. We will have the bus ride and depending on coach’s mood possibly tomorrow to enjoy the victory, but once Tuesday comes we are going to have to shift gears and focus on our next opponent, The Vermont Catamounts.