The 2012 season is here and we wanted to work closely with college programs to bring a part of the excitement to you. Throughout the 2012 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.
Jason Coppersmith, Senior Defenseman from Boca Raton, Fla.
Legacy is a word that has been repeated a lot to us this season by Coach Murphy, mainly to the senior class. He has asked us on multiple occasions, “Seniors, what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?” Coming off a strong Fairfield win, Navy would be a game that would add to that legacy. We just didn’t know in what way at the time.
Monday morning started off with a team lift and some sad news from our coach there. Coach McLaurin told us this would be his last week at the school as he accepted a job with the Minnesota Vikings- not too shabby. Later in the afternoon we met to watch film of the Fairfield game and close the books on it. The player of the game was our goalie, Jared Madison, as he had a stellar performance while anchoring our defense. Also announced was the practice player of the week, Tim Cashman, who just nuggets (intercepts passes) every single ball within a 10 ft radius it seems.
Coach Murphy then talked to us about the upcoming game and how tough it would be. He said how he’d watched more film of Navy on Sunday than any other team so far this season. They would be a challenge, but one we would be up for. Then, we headed into Sanford for practice (lightning storms outside) and worked a lot on our fundamentals of 2 vs. 2s with picks, 6 vs. 6, and defensive footwork with offensive shooting. After a solid hour and a half, we called it a day and stretched out.
Tuesday saw the first of four gorgeous days in Hamilton; we were outside and loving the weather. The day started with maroon gbs (see a previous blog for the details) and Bobby Lawrence absolutely killed the drill by always making a play on the ball either offensively or defensively. Jared had a good day in practice as well by robbing a bunch of players’ would-be goals. We also worked on our transition game by running our Omaha drill (essentially full-field 6 vs. 6 transition). To end the day, we had a scrum (scrimmage) with the maroon team starting down by 2 goals. Towards the end of the scrum, sophomore defenseman, Pat Korn, was able to run the field and stick one past Jared to cap off one of his better practices.
Despite Wednesday being our last lift with Coach Mac, he still coached us up in the weight room and put us through the normal routine as he would’ve any other day. He was a great addition for the year and will be very missed by our team and the school. We wish him only the best going forward.
Wednesday afternoon the “Call Me Maybe” flu hit the Colgate lacrosse team. It had been creeping up on a few guys, but when macho men like Erik Pfiffner start singing it on their own…you know it has to be played in the locker room (we don’t judge in the locker room). Besides, you could hear the soccer guys playing it too.
As we went out to practice, Coach Murphy had us start right up with an OT scrimmage. Each team had a possession, but was won by Maroon when Brendan McCann was able to score from on the crease. We then got into 6 vs. 6, our 131 drill (6 vs. 6 on a side of the cage where 3 offensive players are on the crease and just constantly rotating out and in with the 3 outside offensive players), and offensive shooting while defense did footwork. Footwork for the day was putting eight sticks on the ground a yard away from each other and weaving through them with our hands up. From this you could tell two things: Chris Seter has very fast feet (should’ve been on the cover of the new Inside Lacrosse), and Matt Yeager was brought back to his high school football days judging from the way he looked going through it. We then ended practice with a strong man up/man down session at two cages.
Both the offense and defense met at separate times on Thursday to watch film before practice. It was a shorter practice to save our legs and consisted of beast drill (6 vs. 4), mineola drill (6 vs. 6 coming in from opposite sides), passing drills, and own the cone (1 vs. 1s with no sticks). As we got inside to our lockers, we noticed the familiar covers of the scouting reports already passed out. Coach Murphy told us how he struggled to find an idea for the preview that morning and ultimately determined it was very simple: we just needed to be us. It was the theme of the game- if we’re us, then we’ll come out on top.
Friday’s pregame practice was the same as always: we started with FFOTS (full field over the shoulder passing), went into 4 corners extended (4 vs. 3s), some 6 vs. 6, special situations, and man up/man down. We got inside and watched our last bit of film on Navy and then went home before a team dinner. That night, we were fortunate enough to have Mr. and Mrs. Cashman set us up with a great feast at Seven Oaks Clubhouse. Following the meal, almost half the team went to see the new movie, “The Hunger Games” along with what seemed to be the rest of the school.
We woke up the next morning and headed up the hill to Frank Dining Hall for a team breakfast. After that, most of us went straight down to the locker room to hang out prior to warm-ups. In the ready room before the game, we went over the keys to the game with Coach Abbott starting us off. He said the offense needed to execute the game plan and play fast but not in a hurry. Coach Starsia then went on to talk about our defense and how we had to play together and push transition, cover up inside, and also make sure we outworked them on gbs and hustle plays. Coach Murphy brought it all together with the usual: effort, enthusiasm, and execution. If we played Colgate lacrosse for 60 min, the scoreboard would read in our favor.
The game started off with an alley dodge and goal from Jeff Ledwick to put us on top. However, Navy quickly responded by going on a 5-goal run extending to the 2nd quarter and putting them up 5-1. Robert Grabher won the next face-off clean and dished it to Peter Baum who fired it in the back of the net to stop the bleeding. The game then got to 7-2 Navy until Ryan Walsh beat his man and scored with 36 seconds left in the half.
In the locker room at half, Coach Murphy said how there’s no such thing as a 4-point goal; we had to win the next minute and take it a goal at a time to get back into this one. We fought back in the third quarter by winning it 6-3 and being down 10-9 when entering the fourth. The game was tied right away as Grabil (Grabher) won the face-off, looked off Baum, and scored to swing the momentum in our favor. Navy ended up scoring a few minutes later, but Baum kept us in it by beating his man and putting one past their goalie with under 3 minutes to play. The comeback wasn’t made complete though as Navy was able to score with 3 seconds left to win the game 12-11.
A loss is never easy, especially one that close. We managed to claw our way back after being down 5 goals, which really displayed our team’s resiliency. This was something to be proud of. Some guys who stood out to me against Navy were the usual pair of Walshy (2G, 1A) and Baum (3G), and then you had John Donnally who played well defensively and scored two big goals for us in transition. Ledwick, Brendan McCann, and Matt Baker all had one goal, while Matt Clarkson registered an assist. The two guys who kept us in the game were Lawrence and Grabher. Bobby was given the task of guarding Tucker Hull, the nation’s second leading points total, and was able to hold him to one goal on the day with no assists. Grabher (1G, 2A) won 19-27 draws for us and really came up clutch in this one despite the L.
In the locker room Coach told us that this game will change us, but it’s just one game and we’ve got four more league games coming up. He’s right that it will change us and that it just adds more importance to the next one. Our job now is to ensure the legacy remembered is the way we want it to be. Not as a team that fell apart after a loss to Navy, but as a team who took the Navy loss as fuel to propel them to the Patriot League Championship- our goal.
Now we have to turn around and face a tough Army team in a game that has tons of storylines going into it, storylines that shouldn’t matter though. What will matter is how the 47 members of the Colgate lacrosse team play day-in and day-out at practice and in games. What will matter is that we give everything we can for one another. What will matter is that we do it all together and make our legacy one worthy of remembrance.