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.
Jr. – #22 – Midfield
It’s been a while since I had to write about a loss in this blog. I guess I should consider that a positive thing, but I’d be lying to myself if I thought it was that easy to find personal closure in the face of defeat. Going forward, the only attainable closure in this type of situation can be found through hard work: by working harder in practice than you did in the previous week. Being able to tell yourself each day that you did something more, worked just a little bit harder, or devoted just a little more focus to the task at hand is the only rational way to compensate for failure. At this point, coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to Colgate on Saturday, that’s all our team is trying to do.
I have to give a lot of credit and respect to Colgate. They proved to be as good as we expected them to be, and rightfully got the best of us last weekend. Winning face-offs, dominating the ground ball battle, scoring in transition…they capitalized on the aspects of the game that our team has thrived in during the successful games of our season. On top of that, our tradition of taking the field behind a player carrying the school flag apparently ignited their players to a level of combatant motivation. The outcome of the game was devastating, but we’re fortunate enough to know there’s a chance we’ll get to play Colgate again this year. We’ll address that opportunity if and when the time comes, but for now, there’s only one opportunity at the forefront of our minds: the opportunity to “Beat Bucknell.” Needless to say, it was a long bus ride home from Hamilton on Saturday night.
This Monday definitely brought a different feel to the start of the week than most others. For the past 7 weeks, everyone came in on Monday in good spirits riding off the continuations of our team’s winning streak. However, this Monday didn’t offer the same vibe. Instead, morale was still on the downside as a residual of the overtime loss. Yet, after watching film and listening to the coaching staff’s closing remarks on the Colgate game, our focus quickly shifted to Bucknell and the rapidly approaching, most important game on our schedule. Practice was extremely upbeat and competitive, with “gasser” sprints put on the line for each drill. This competitive mindset achieved exactly what it was intended for: putting all the focus back on winning, back on ringchasing.
Tuesday was another atypical day for our program. While Coach Cassese and the rest of the staff headed to Lewisburg to get a live scout of the Bucknell-UPenn game that night, the players on the team had the privilege of getting after it in the weight room. Lifting is definitely one of our teams’ most cherished activities, although we are all still waiting for the day when Adam Johnston surmounts the 135 mark on the bench press. Adam and the rest of us certainly made positive strides on Tuesday with the help of our strength and conditioning coach Eric Markovcy. Eric refers to lifting as “an opportunity to get better,” and we attacked this week’s lone opportunity in the weight room to do so. The only abnormality of the afternoon came in the absence of the coaching staff. We all missed Coach Cassese’s presence, as his enthusiastic participation in lifts always has the effect of inspiring the team.
On Wednesday, the entire squad rendezvoused again, completely focused on beating Bucknell and solidifying our plans for matching up against their complicated schemes. A film session on their offensive system and personnel reminded us of their level of talent, and even more so of how we all felt after losing to them twice last year…as mentioned before, it’s hard to find a more powerful type of motivator. We took the field for practice afterwards, honing various rides and clears and working against our scout team’s depictions of Bucknell’s offensive and defensive schemes. Senior Kevin “The GodFather” Donovan continues to do a tremendous job of leading the scout offense, which has contributed monumentally to our defense’s success this season. However, this is by no means is the only vital role Kevin plays on our team. He has recently commissioned a roller hockey league for the former hockey players on the team, for instance…just one of his many leadership positions off the field.
While I’m thinking of it, there’s another pretty evident indication of improvement in practice this week: the fact that I’m no longer allowed to warm-up Dan Carr. Why a face-off guy ever warmed up a goalie in a collegiate lacrosse practice in the first place is even pretty confusing to me.
It’s Friday morning now, and I can conclude with all confidence that our guys have done their “one more” in practice each and every day this week to get better. Losing a game, despite being the most undesirable outcome for any athlete, tends to have that effect when all is said and done. Winning brings a great sense of accomplishment and content, but too frequently imparts an unspoken sense of complacency within a group. Our team never succumbed to this tendency during the season’s historical winning streak, but we certainly haven’t recognized the kind of motivation that comes with losing throughout the process. Losing to Bucknell last year, losing to Colgate last weekend…those are the memories that make any competitor tick. With a team full of competitors, this weekend’s matchup is the kind of game that we all play lacrosse for. Saturday night, under the lights, Lehigh vs. Bucknell: one of those scenarios that we’ll always look back on well after our careers are over.
If this entry has a bit more flavor to it then its precursors, it’s due to the fact that I had ours truly, Mr. Brian “Schmack the Scholar” Hess, as a co-author for this one, so I have to give credit where it’s due. The kid’s got personality and curiosity to enhance any situation (not to mention one of the higher GPAs on the team), so if there are any readers in the financial services industry out there looking for a workhorse of a summer intern, give Brain a shout (firstname.lastname@example.org). With Colgate behind us and all of the season’s goals still in front of us, its time for myself, Brian, and the rest of the Mountain Hawks to move on to the next one.