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.
Sunday’s are usually our one day off during the week to relax and catch up on schoolwork, however, this Sunday we had practice in order to prepare for our Tuesday game against Hobart. We first had a team meeting in the locker room to close the book on Robert Morris where Peter Baum was announced as player of the game for going 8G, 2A. The coaches also acknowledged Matt Reyes-Guerra-Dunn, or the Law Firm, for being the practice player of the week. Afterwards, we were shown a mixture of good and bad clips from our game against the Colonials to highlight areas of improvement.
We had a solid hour and a half of practice where we did transition drills, man up/man down, and a lot of 6 vs. 6 with Hobart’s scout. At the end of it we went back to the locker room to go over the scouting reports as a team. The theme of the game was toughness: we had to out-tough the Statesmen in every way possible. They would be a strong test for us offensively, defensively, but most of all, at the face-off X where they had arguably the best guy in the country.
Monday was the first day of the last week of classes before spring break (a little confusing, I know). Of course that meant teachers giving a ton of midterms and having all their papers due this week on top of having two lacrosse games. Also announced that day was how Ryan Walsh and Baum were named Patriot League Rookie of the Week and Offensive Player of the Week respectively. Coach Starsia had the defense come down during the day to watch film of Hobart’s offense, and our offense watched film with coach Abbott before practice. We then had our usual pregame practice going over all types of situations, man up/ man down, 6 vs. 6, our last touch transition drill, and full field over the shoulder passing. In the locker room after practice, coach Murphy played a short motivational video containing the message that “winning is a habit” and we would make it our own.
Following practice most of us got dinner and went to the library. I didn’t leave until about midnight and when I did, a lot of guys on our team were still there. Our team is pretty dedicated to performing well athletically and academically. This is evident by eighteen of us being recognized at the Raider Academic Honor Roll on Tuesday. Speaking of this dedication to academic success, we were all very distraught about missing our afternoon classes later in the day to get ready for our 4 pm game.
Despite being a little flat in warm ups, we came out strong for the game itself. Coach Abbott had told the offense to work together, and coach Starsia made sure our defense shut down their best player in number 4. The team did exactly what was asked by scoring 18 goals, while holding 4 pointless and to only one shot (credit the Rattlesnake, Bobby Lawrence, with that). Baum followed up his 10-point performance on Saturday with a 9-point performance on Tuesday going (6G, 3A). Behind him were Jeff Ledwick (3G, 1A), Walsh (3G), Justin Kirchner (3G), Matt Baker (1G, 2A), and Brendon McCann (1G, 1A). Probably the most exciting goal of the game came from the most pure player this team has seen in a while; none other than number 45 himself, Denis Brown. This goal capped off our 18-8 victory over the Statesmen. In our ready room coach congratulated us on the win, but reminded us of our opening Patriot League game quickly approaching.
Wednesday we got our day off to catch up on rest and schoolwork. We also had an optional lift during our normally scheduled times. Coach Murphy told us not to push our bodies and get in to see Chuck if we needed to. Many of us attended the women’s lacrosse game against Cornell on what was a beautiful afternoon; some guys even took their shirts off to throw around on Andy Kerr. However, Jim Queeney made sure to wear a long sleeve fleece and sunglasses in order to protect himself from prolonged periods in the sun (over two minutes) and burning.
Thursday was very similar to Sunday and we had pretty much the same practice while getting into Holy Cross’ team. We did transition drills, defensive footwork with offensive shooting, 6 vs. 6 at two ends, and man up/man down. The scouting reports in our lockers after practice had a special preview in it- Coach had written about our long-term goal of winning the Patriot League and how Holy Cross was the first stop. He reminded us of how we have a 20-1 record all-time against the Crusaders, and that the juniors and seniors were around for the blemish. This only made us more determined going into Saturday.
Friday marked the last day of classes before break, and boy was it beautiful out…that is, up until practice. Hamilton is known for being able to change its weather on a dime and that’s exactly what happened. As most of us jogged out to the field, we complained about having to wear our full sweats for practice, however, within twenty minutes a flash blizzard came out of nowhere. Of course it dissipated right before we started stretching out at the end of practice.
Right after we changed out of our wet clothes, we got into our jackets and ties for the bus ride to Worcester, MA. The movie chosen for the bus was The Departed, which starts with the song, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” Another fun fact about it is that it unofficially stars former team member Frank Coughlin as cop/not cop William Costigan. Then, upon arriving at our hotel, we watched film and had some Papa John’s pizza ordered in.
The next morning we came down for a team breakfast before heading over to Holy Cross. Everyone enjoyed the meal except for Bobby Lawrence who said he ate one too many slices of Papa John’s the previous night- kid needed Pepto Bismol like the Cavaliers need LeBron James (sorry Wilson family and all Ohio readers). Fortunately Chuck came through for Bobby and he was able to feel better. Prior to starting our warm-up, coach Abbott told the offense they needed to play fast and play together. Coach Starsia prepped the defense by saying we needed to shut down their best player in 23. Per usual, coach Murphy emphasized the three E’s: effort, enthusiasm, and execution as well as making a point to tell us that this is not the Holy Cross team we’d faced in the past, this team was the real deal. He also told us to win our match-up in every single facet of the game. Offensively we’d have to beat our man, defensively we’d have to shut our men down, and on the bench we’d have to stay positive and energized throughout the game.
When the opening whistle blew, it started a hard-fought game. Ryan Walsh kicked off the scoring by beating his man off the dodge and putting one in the back of the net. Along with Walsh (4G, 1A), Baum (3G, 2A), Baker (1G, 2A), and McCann (2G, 1A) went off. Kirchner, Ledwick, and Matt Clarkson also contributed one point apiece. Defensively, Jared Madison came up with some huge saves, and Bobby Lawrence played great against their 23. Rob Grabher followed up his great performance against Hobart by winning over 50% of his face-offs versus Holy Cross, and when he needed a break, Alex Kinnealy came in to win 9 of his 13 draws.
As we went into halftime, it was only 5-4 Colgate. Coach Murphy wanted us to play the way he knew we could in the second half, and we came out firing. We got a quick goal from Baum just a minute into the third quarter and never looked back. The closest the Crusaders got was 10-8, and momentum seemed to be swinging a little towards them. On the following face-off John Donnally picked up the ground ball and went straight towards net. After engaging his power cradle to storm through two defensemen, he let fly a Will Planer-esque bounce shot that went straight into the back of the goal…this put an end to whatever hope the Crusaders still had.
Overall the win was our first stop on a long journey in the Patriot League. Holy Cross was a very solid team, and will surely give other teams in our league fits. Now we have to win five more league games to host the tournament and get to where we want to be. Our next game over spring break will be Binghamton; a team that has beaten us twice over the previous three years. Now on our minds is revenge and making sure we have our best performance to date come Tuesday.