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.
BLOG ENTRY 6
Following a strong performance from the team against Vermont, we came into the locker room on Monday ready to work. Kevin Gordon had just been awarded Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week, the coaches announced that John Donnally and Rob Grabher were our players of the game in the win, and Aaron Darr was recognized with the lunch pail for his great job in the prior week of practice.
We began practice with the offense shooting at one end and the defense doing lead ground balls at the other (starting on a sideline, one player rolls out a gb for another, then gives him light pressure as he runs through it and throws it to a goalie on the opposite sideline. The player who rolled the ball then sprints to catch it, and finishes it by giving the first player an over the shoulder pass). The rest of practice was a lot of positional work and situational play. We did 1 vs. 1s and 3 vs. 2s from the sides to work on defensive rotations and the offense working without the ball. At the end we came in around Coach who told us how Dartmouth will be a test, but one we’ll be up for.
Tuesday seemed to be the start of the three-week stretch deemed as exams. Many guys had one that day, this week, or in the coming weeks. However, the ball still gets rolled out at 4:30 every day and we all have to go through it (not always smiling though). In any case, we had an introduction to Dartmouth film session that afternoon, and were reminded of last Tuesday’s practice lull. The let-up wasn’t repeated as we had one of the best cavalier drills of the year (attack and defense at both ends, with three middies at a wing: 2 vs. 1. Coach is at the face-off x and rolls a ball out to be fought over). Guys were talking through the ground ball, the team with the man advantage was scoring, and everyone was playing at full speed. As practice heated up, the weather did just the opposite. A mini snowstorm came in around 6 pm. Yet, we still went on with scout teams and 4 vs. 4s at two ends- that’s the understanding of Colgate weather.
Wednesday morning was a good lifting session with the morning crew. I then followed it up with some rehab work with our trainer, Chuck. He finally allowed me to run on the space machine: an antigravity treadmill in the trainer’s room. It was my first time running in about 2 weeks (See picture attached). Practice that afternoon started with the defense doing 5-man breakouts from the goal and the offense doing over the cage shooting (one cage at the 10-yard line and another directly behind it about 10 more yards. When you shoot you’re getting the ball over the first one, but into the second one). We then moved into a scrum (scrimmage) for about twenty minutes. The heart of Texas, Trevor Atkins, came alive during this time. The kid absolutely lit it up while leading the white team to a one goal victory over the maroon squad.
Afterwards, we worked on face-offs, and finished with man up/man down. Coach told us how this had been the best continuous week of practice thus far and to keep it coming.
The next day we got more into Dartmouth during a film session before practice- the defense had to be aware and ready at all times, while the offense needed to run hard at all times and shoot for the white of the net. The first drill of the day was dragon clearing (the middies start from a restraining box and run down to other side of the field where the attack is, move the ball around, and finish on net. The defense just stays on the end that the middies start on and throw cross-field passes). Then we moved into 6 vs. 6 at two ends with Derek Katchis and Pat Shanley playing very well against the first-team offense. Their communication and hustle was easily seen as the ball was moved around or put on the ground.
When we got back inside, our scouting reports were in our lockers to go over with the coaching staff. The first page of the report was our overview of the game. The theme for the weekend would be one we were all familiar with: togetherness. Everything we would do would be together, and together we would be stronger than their parts.
Friday was a pregame practice like the one we’ve done every week. The main difference was how this one was raining like crazy. We still started with full field over the shoulder passing, and went through situations, man up/man down, and riding/clearing. We met as a team inside and coach Murphy told us to mentally prepare because tomorrow would be the exact same weather- we should have hoped so. The team was told to take of our sticks, make sure our equipment was in good order, and study our scouting reports that night.
I woke up on Saturday morning to head up the hill to Frank for our team breakfast. Although when I looked outside, all I saw was white. At breakfast none of us thought too much of it because it seemed to be subsiding. In the locker room everyone was doing their own pregame thing; whether it be taping their stick, listening to their iPod, or just hanging around re-reading the scouting report. We first were told that the game would be played on Andy Kerr, but about a half hour later the news came that the venue had changed to Tyler’s Field with a 1:30 pm start. (Leave it to my parents to fly up from sunny Florida for a game in the crappiest weather)
We stayed in our locker room to go over the keys to the game. Coach Abbott started, per usual, by saying how our offense needs to give it 110% and make sure everything is done with a purpose. Coach Starsia then spoke to the defense about playing in the gray, or unknown, and how this was a Dark Side day (we refer to our defense as the Dark Side). Coach Murphy completed it by stating the need for energy, enthusiasm, but most importantly the need for mental and physical toughness.
When we got out to Tyler’s, it was really windy, but still sunny. However, due to the snow, we used orange balls for the game. Guys were fired up, and ready to play for sixty minutes in whatever weather was thrown at us. The first half was pretty back and forth with the score tied 3-3 at the half. Our goals had come from Ryan Walsh, Jeff Ledwick, and Peter Baum thus far. With essentially a 0-0 game at half, coach Murphy told us how we needed to clean things up and toughen up out there. We had to come up with every ball that hit the ground, and communicate a lot- especially with the wind.
The third quarter saw more of the same as both teams scored 2 goals, and the weather got even worse. Believe me, there was a time where I could barely see the players on the far side of the field. When it was all said and done, Dartmouth had 9 and we had 6. The weather though, cannot be used as an excuse- both teams had to play in it, not just us (can’t say it helped). We gathered our equipment and met as a team inside. The essential message was that we were mediocre and that can’t happen against Robert Morris next week. That being said, it was just one game in a long stretch, and we’re nowhere near done.
I’ve been on some really good teams in the past: won 3 state championships, been to the Patriot League Tournament twice (once in the finals), and in every single one of those seasons my team was never undefeated. In fact, I can’t remember the last time a Patriot League Champion or NCAA Champion was undefeated. Does the loss hurt? Of course, but the same 24-hour rule applies for a loss as it does a win. We’re going to learn from it and move on the way we do things around here: together.