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.
Coming off a great Patriot League win against Holy Cross, our sights were immediately set on Binghamton to continue a strong spring break. They’re a team we hadn’t beaten in two years, and always proved to be a tough adversary. We practiced on Sunday a bit to go through our fundamentals along with an intro to Binghamton’s offense. Following the practice we went back to the locker room to go over the scouting reports.
The preview for the game on the first page said how this game will be a statement; maybe not nationally, but within our program. It went on to say how we will bring the juice, we will play together, we will play for the full 60 minutes, and so on. We then went to a team favorite restaurant at Seven Oaks Clubhouse for dinner. After the feast, the team headed over to the hockey rink to watch our team play Quinnipiac for a spot in the ECAC semifinals. One of the refs had the misfortune of having the name Graber (similar to our Grabher) and got a lot of chirps from the team. Luckily it didn’t interfere with the outcome and ‘Gate went on to win the game and move on.
Monday’s practice was an early one that started at 10 am, and we went through our normal pregame practice. We then all went to Rusch’s in town for a team lunch before film and “lift” in the afternoon. The offense went to lift at 2 pm, which really was a stretching session, while the defense watched film and then went to lift at 2:30. After finishing up, most people just went home and hung out until a team dinner at the clubhouse with chicken and pasta being the entrée of the night.
Tuesday morning we woke up and met at the locker room to pack our bags before heading over to Binghamton. We hopped on the bus and went to…you guessed it, the clubhouse for breakfast (by the time you’re done reading this you might think we would have been sick of the clubhouse. However, the food there is great, and they always change it up for us). We got to Binghamton two hours before the game and settled in. Thanks to my mom’s trip up the prior week, we now also had a portable speaker system to listen to. As we prepped to take the field, the coaching staff reminded us of the importance of the game, and how we needed our best effort, enthusiasm, and execution yet.
As we came out in our black uniforms on a beautiful sunny day, it was obvious we were ready to play. Rob Grabher and Alex Kinnealey did an excellent job at the face-off x for us, in what would prove to be a career day for Grabher. Ryan Walsh followed up his terrific play at Holy Cross with another great showing by putting up 5 goals and 2 assists. @Pete4Tewaaraton, I mean Peter Baum, provided his usual spark for us by scoring 3 goals and dishing out 2 helpers. The other guys contributing to the 17-8 win were the usual suspects: Matt Baker (1G, 1A), Jeff Ledwick (1G, 1A), Colby Wilson (1G), Chris Zielinski (1G), and Conor Braddish (1G) who scored the first goal of the game.
The real treat that came from playing the Bearcats was how our transition game came alive. Derek Katchis had easily his best game yet and got an assist in it, Kevin Gordon was finally able to score a goal this season (our second starting pole to do so this season), and Jimmy Ryan also had an assist in the game. The best performance had to come from from Grabil (Grabher): while he did well facing off, he also scored his first career goal (2G, 2A for the game) and received the player of the game. On the defensive end, our base defense held the Bearcats’ starting attack without a single point- pretty impressive.
When we got back to Hamilton later that day, it was very, very low-key night because no one was around. Then on Wednesday we went to Rusch’s for lunch, which was followed by an afternoon lift. After that, we had a few hours to kill before a late practice, and because it was a gorgeous day, the defense went outside to take advantage of the weather. Between getting sun, throwing around, and attempting to throw a ball over the stadium, we had a great time (the video file was too large to attach) Later on we had a strong practice for having played a game the previous day. We got into Fairfield’s offense after doing drills like 3 vs. 2 tight, and 3 vs. 2 from a side. Aaron Darr was used as Fairfield’s best player #8 and Matt Reyes-Guerra-Dunn was their big righty shooter in #44. Both did an excellent job of giving the defense a look. That night we went to dinner at none other than the clubhouse to cap off the day.
On Thursday we first met up as a team for lunch again at Rusch’s (another place we ate a lot at). While at lunch, the Mike Francesa show was airing live and taking callers; of course Ben Shapiro saw opportunity in this to call in. As we all silently listened to Benny ask about his beloved Mets, Francesa’s face said it all with a “what the hell is this kid talking about?” look. He hung up on Ben because he didn’t mention the subject previously discussed on the show: the Knicks. After Shapiro’s botched phone call, we had a great afternoon practice. We did our Omaha transition drill (2 middies from each team on one wing and they sprint towards the face-off x where Coach Murphy throws a ball. They have to pick it up and whichever team wins it goes to play offense), our beast drill (6 on 4), and man up/man down among others.
The scouting reports were ready for us when we came in from practice. The goal was to go 3-0 over break, and standing in our way now was Fairfield. The first line of the preview was the word “extra” and its definition. Everything we did had to be our all, and a little extra. This game would be a national statement against a higher ranked and undefeated opponent.
We changed it up for dinner that night by going to White Eagle where the kitchen grilled up some steaks for us courtesy of the Kinnealey family. Unlike in preseason when we went there and had to worry about our 300-yard shuttles the next day, there was nothing but a pregame practice awaiting us on Friday. This meant open season for guys like Erik Pfiffner and Justin Kirchner on eating. Following the filling meal, John Donnally, Pat Shanley, Wilson, and myself came back to watch an instant classic movie, “Goon” starring Sean William Scott.
Friday we got back into our normal practice time routine. While going through our pregame practice, Pfiffner suffered a traumatic injury while on the offensive scout team. He set a pick at X for Trevor Atkins and was unfortunately smacked in a rough spot for men on his lower region by Bobby Lawrence’s stick. Pfif tried walking it off, but was forced to sub out for a play or two. Brought a chuckle to the team during the drill. We brought it in at the end and Coach Murphy reminded us that tomorrow was huge and would allow us to end spring break on the right note.
Saturday morning we woke up and headed over to the clubhouse for a great breakfast. From there, most of us went to the locker room to prep for the game. Before our first warm-up Coach Abbott spoke to the offense about their keys to the game: the one that stuck out was “hunting season”. He said the Stags are coming here and we needed to send them home with a loss. Coach Starsia also had a great key for the defense of “character and cruelty”. We would play as defenders together (character), and also protect our field, our house, and ultimately it would be our day (cruelty). Coach Murphy kept the overall keys consistent with the season: effort, enthusiasm, and execution. He said it would be a dogfight, but if we focused on the small things in a big game like this, we’d be victorious.
When we took the field to run our lap before stretching out, we heard a lot of chirping from the then undefeated Fairfield team near our midfield. We didn’t let it get to us and allowed the scoreboard to do our talking. We quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead with goals from Baker, Baum, and Walsh. From there, we never looked back. Walshy dominated his matchup by consistently beating his man 1 on 1 for a solid game (2G, 1A).
Ledwick controlled our first midfield line with 2 goals and 1 assist as well. Brendan McCann (2G) played great on attack by complementing his two linemates. Baum did his thing by putting up a game high 6 points (4G, 2A) and taking over the offense for us. Donnally and Ryan both contributed an assist alongside a great defensive effort. The goal that got our team really going was probably defenseman Jim Queeney’s goal when he picked up a groundball and ran up the field to let go a top left rip (Bobby “Rattlesnake” Lawrence is now the only starting pole without a goal…). Our defense had it’s best performance of the year by holding the Fairfield to 6 goals, and only 1 point from the starting three attackmen. Credit the entire group of Kevin Boyle, Queeney, Lawrence, Donnally, Ryan, and Kevin Gordon for the superb play. The guy who came up huge for us was goalie Jared Madison. He anchored our defense and was able to make 11 saves on 17 shots.
There was definitely cause for celebration after the game by improving to 7-1 and it being St. Patty’s day. We had resident bagpiper Connor Brown and his dad play for us at the tailgate (this video file was too large as well). Alongside them was Denis Brown’s sister who Irish danced for us. That night many families went to dinner at the Colgate Inn led by the Ledwick alpha male: Tim Ledwick (he’s been waiting for this shout out since I started writing this thing). We had a great time as a team, but now are getting into the thick of our Patriot League schedule. Up next: Navy; a team that always gives us a hard game and is another group of guys standing in our way of achieving a Patriot League title.