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.
After coming off a big Lehigh win, we couldn’t let ourselves get complacent for Lafayette. Coach reminded us consistently throughout the week how he doesn’t care about their record, but about the fact that if we win this game, we’re in the Patriot League Tournament.
Monday started with guys coming in and talking about their weekend in the locker room. Connor Brown looked very excited when I talked to him about his. Why? Because he had finally gotten a picture of our very own Chris Seter with his look-a-like on campus, Fake Seter (See picture attached). Next we got into film of Lehigh and looked at some of the good and bad during our game. Jeff Ledwick was named player of the game for obvious reasons, and an honorable mention went to the bench for staying energized throughout the 60+ it took for the win. Also announced was Denis Brown as practice player of the week, for his great work Monday through Friday.
After the meeting we went into Sanford Fieldhouse for practice. A Monday practice was a little foreign to most guys after having the previous couple of Mondays off, but we adjusted. In a shorter practice just to get moving around, we went through 3 vs. 2s on a side, the slide and recover drill for defense with offense shooting, and ended with a highly competitive beast drill (6 vs. 4s) in which the D came out on top.
Tuesday we were back to being outside, and right off the bat you could tell the energy level of the team wasn’t there. We introduced Lafayette’s offense, worked on clearing the ball against 7 men, and even through in some 6 vs. 5 faceoff (maroon team vs. white team and each close defense is down a man from the opening face). Probably the highlight of the day was when we split up for the offense to do stick work, and the defense went to do 1 vs. 1s against ourselves- no sticks. I’m still unsure of why we looked so bad doing this, maybe some people found it comical (Starsia laughed out of sheer pain), but just seeing the matchup of Lawrence against the offensive “prowess” of D Katch (Derek Katchis) was tough to watch. After the practice, you could tell Coach Murphy was upset as he told us that we gave one back today, and that tomorrow we’d have to make up for it.
Prior to Wednesday’s practice we met to watch film of Lafayette’s zone defense and some of their offensive clips. We came out with much better energy, and it showed as we got into the apache drill early on. Following that, we did the mineola drill where Denis Brown and Trevor Atkins gave a great look to the defense and really lit it up. We soon moved to a drill we hadn’t done in a long time of 1 vs. 1s with the d guy about 10 yards higher than the cage and facing towards the top of the restraining box. On each side of him is an offensive player about 5 yards away, and a coach is at the top of the restraining box with a ball. When the whistle blows, the ball is thrown to one player and he tries to get top-side or shoot if the defenseman doesn’t approach fast enough. It’s a good drill to get the blood flowing, but unfortunately we didn’t get to see a rematch of Ledwick and Matt Reyes-Guerra-Dunn.
In practice we also worked on riding Lafayette’s clear, our Omaha transition drill and some man up/man down. This was classic because while the FEMO group (Fake Extra Man Offense) was just working the ball around, Aaron Darr decided to shoot the ball right at Jim Queeney’s leg as he was rotating (not on purpose). It didn’t look pleasant, nor did it look like the shot was even going to hit the net had it continued on…unlucky. After Darr said sorry, we stretched it out to end practice. Coach told us right before we headed inside that statistically speaking, there’s a way Lafayette could get into the playoffs if they win out. He added that this makes them a more dangerous team than before and we have to be ready. We didn’t want another Dartmouth or Navy.
Thursday was a day where we went through a whole lot of stuff. We spent a good deal of time on Lafayette’s 10-man ride and clearing against it (something that will hopefully prove useful against Bucknell as well), the offense went against Lafayette’s zone a lot, and then there were our usual drills thrown in there as well: 6 vs. 6 at two ends, man up/man down, victory situations. It wasn’t our best day out there, and we heard about it…through the screaming of Coach as we were running gassers due to lack of hustle in full-field situations. He wasn’t quite as bad as Tony Perkis in “Heavyweights” but we didn’t want to continue running for the rest of practice (a must-watch movie if you haven’t seen it). We ended up getting back into the drill and playing much better.
Upon arriving in our locker room, awaiting us were the usual Thursday scouting reports. This weekend was all about being our best. The top line of the preview had the following on it:
Good, better, best- Never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best.
This week we understood that Lafayette was good, but would have no answer for us if we played the way we know we’re capable of. The lasting thought of the meeting was win, and we’re in to the tourney.
Friday was our normal pregame practice outside on Andy Kerr. We went through the usual drills and then went inside to watch our last film on the Leopards. After lacrosse was done for the day most of us went home and changed for the big event of the evening. Every year, Colgate gets a big name to come and speak to the school called the Kerschner Family Global Leaders Series. In the past few years it’s been the Dalai Lama, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and President Bill Clinton. On Friday the 13th, Colgate Day (we’re big into the number 13 here; fitting this is the 13th blog entry too), we had Sir Richard Branson come to talk. It was an interview setting with our President Herbst asking the questions. The talk centered on Sir Richard’s entrepreneurship and how people should make a difference in the world. Link to an article on it is attached here.
The team woke up on Saturday morning to go to Frank Dining Hall as we do before every home game. After that, we headed down to the locker room with our home whites hanging in each of our lockers. Before our warm up, we went into our ready room and listened to the coach’s keys to the game. Coach Abbott started with the offense by saying how we needed to play at our speed- fast, leave no doubt on the field, and score early and often. If we did all that, we’d run them off the field. Coach Starsia followed him up by telling the defense to protect the paint, run fast and be aware between the whistles, and be quick and clean (I guess I missed that memo with a penalty in the game). Below his keys on the whiteboard he wrote, “Punch the Ticket!” referring to the Tournament. Coach Murphy concluded and said how we needed the three E’s today: Effort, Enthusiasm, and Execution. He told us not to take this team for granted and make it the best day ever.
As the opening whistle went off, Grabestar (one of the many nicknames of Rob Grabher) won the opening draw and got us possession. We rattled off a mere 7 goals in the first quarter while holding Lafayette to 1 (the offense heard Abbott very clearly). Going into half, the score was 11-2, but despite this, the coaches weren’t pleased. There was a lot going on out there that we could improve on, and we had to show it in the second half.
We came out sharp in the third quarter as John Donnally managed to score just 15 seconds into it for his second on the day. Jared Madison was sharp in the cage for us, and credit to the starting D who allowed Lafayette very few good opportunities. As the game progressed, it was good to see a lot of different guys go in and get some playing time. Some freshmen that really made the most of it were Parker Weinstock, Jack O’Callaghan, and Matt Reyes-Guerra-Dunn. These three midfielders all played well together with OC and Dunn both recording their first collegiate goals. On the defensive side, we got all four of our goalies in and Connor Murphy, Gabe Lord, and DeWitt Deluca all impressed. In front of them were guys like Patrick Korn, Reid Shepard, Montgomery Pooley, Kyle Stanich and Ben Shapiro who did a great job of not letting the bar drop after the starters went out. Also, Pat Shanley and Will Manning went in and continued to shut down Lafayette’s best player at midfield.
Peter Baum led the team with 7 points (5G, 2A), and Leddy followed him up with 2 goals and 3 assists. Behind them were the usual suspects of Matt Baker (2G), Brendan McCann (1G, 2A), Connor Brown (2G), and Ryan Walsh (1G, 2A). We won 18-7, so it was a good day for the Raiders.
Despite the team feeling good about the game, we were supposed to win this one, and that’s exactly what Coach Murphy told us afterwards. He said we get twelve hours to enjoy the win, because our next game is against a team that is standing in our way of hosting the Patriot League Tournament. This is the game we’ve been waiting for all season, and even though we didn’t have a great week of practice last week, you better believe that this Monday through Thursday is going to be one of our best. As we head down to Lewisburg, PA to take on the Bucknell Bison on Friday night, we understand what’s at stake. Coach talks about legacy sometimes, well this game is going to be a major part of ours.