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
On Thursday night of last week, our travel squad hit the road for Annapolis, with a tough Navy team waiting for us on the other side. We got into our hotel pretty late, so there wasn’t much to do other than go to sleep and rest up for the following day. Reminiscent of my prep school days, Coach Wilson came around and checked everyone in…one of his many versatile roles as an assistant coach.
On Friday morning, we had a shoot around at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium to loosen up before the game and get used to the field we’d be playing on. No one on our team (including the seniors) had ever played down there before, making it naturally exciting to take that field for the first time. Growing up, a bunch of guys went to camps at Navy, others were even ball boys at Navy games…so it was a cool experience to see ourselves in the shoes we’re in now, in light of our perspectives of Navy lacrosse back then.
When gametime came around later that night, though, all of the childhood flashbacks dissolved pretty quickly. Guys were more fired up than ever for this one, and the energy and concentration in both the locker room and in warm-ups before the game were rampant.
Despite getting off to one of its slower starts of the year, our defense got the job done yet again and did everything the coaches could have asked them to do. After initially going down 4-1, we were able to hold the Midshipmen scoreless for the final 42 minutes of the game to secure a 9-4 victory. The only thing better than the actual game itself, though, was the celebration to follow in the locker room.
With players rallying around each other to “Call Me Maybe” and DJ Stiefel exclusive jams, the coaches came in and got involved in the action as well. The best addition to the group was hands down Todd Schreiner, though: a Lehigh lacrosse alum, our team’s STX rep, and coincidentally the birthday boy of the group on Friday. We heard a loud banging on one of the locker room doors, and after opening the door thinking it was just guys getting back from being interviewed, Schreiner came flying into the locker on a moped…the guy clearly knows how to make an entrance. In the middle of Coach Cassese’s post game remarks, he even jumped in and told us that more heads come with more wins, and promised that we would get hooked up in the near future. New heads are nice, but the pride manifested by Schreiner and other alumni present at the game was the most satisfying perk of all that came with beating Navy. Our current players and coaches consider Lehigh lacrosse to be a family, and on Friday night I think all of us realized that the family extends far beyond this generation of the program.
The team reconvened on Monday for a full day consisting of a film session, practice, and a lift. It’s tough to stay as devoted to the weight room during the season as we are in the offseason, so when we do get the chance to get in there, guys just work that much harder. Benching, cleaning, and everything in between, everyone certainly demonstrated that kind of effort on Monday.
This week is another midterm week in the world of Lehigh academia, so our practices on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were all moved back to the evening for the sake of accommodating the scholars on the team. Tuesday was an absolute work day. We spent the majority of the practice getting up and down in full-field drills to prepare for the threat Colgate presents in the transitional aspect of the game. Wednesday and Thursday were similar, but also included a significant focus in half-field 6v6 and extra-man scenarios.
On Thursday, Dante Fantoni and I also had a chance to participate in a live-chatroom discussion to answer questions through ESPN’s SportsNation. There was a diverse array of questions asked, so since I haven’t mentioned much in this blog about the team’s eating habits, pre-game rituals, admirations of Will Manny, or the elements of the “pinch and pop”, I figured I could direct you guys there to hear all about those topics…check it out: http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chat/_/id/43264/inside-lacrosse.
At this point, all that’s left to talk about is the enormity of our team’s matchup against Colgate this weekend. #7 vs. #16, the #1 defense vs. the #1 offense, Ty Souders vs. Peter Baum…all the makings of one of this season’s most exciting games. Our team has faced a tremendous amount of adversity over the last two weeks, and being able to rise to these challenges has enabled us to keep our momentum going. Colgate will certainly be another tremendous challenge (Coach Callahan even considers them to be the best team in the country). With two of the top teams in the Patriot League and two of the top teams in the nation clashing tomorrow, there’s never been a better time to make a statement. We have a chance to clinch our second straight bid to the Patriot League tournament, and the chance to go 11-1. With our last practice before hitting the road approaching in a few hours, the journey from #good2great is coming to a vital spell.