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
As I’m sitting here among my teammates on a long bus ride to Hamilton, New York, I have a chance to go beyond the mere “obligation” of writing my weekly blog entry on behalf of our program; rather, I have an opportunity to reflect on what’s now behind us and, more importantly, what lies ahead. Perhaps it’s just some optimistic pressure within me that’s inspiring me to think positively about this particular road trip. After all, the reason we’re on this bus to begin with is nothing short of the fact that we lost to Colgate in the regular season. It’d be nice to have that game back, it’d be nice to be able to sleep at home tonight and have the competition travel to us…sure. In the end, though, I think it’s fitting that we have to travel north for this year’s Patriot League Tournament. I opened this blog series with the two words that I felt best defined this year’s team: ring chasers. Sitting on a bus right now, considering this perspective, everyone on board is inevitably granted the opportunity to reflect on the mission at hand. Our mission this year, after all, wasn’t to host the Patriot League Tournament. Our mission was, and remains…to win it.
Shifting my attention back to last weekend, I’m conveniently reminded of another two words that best sum up what happened: Kevin Donovan. For a guy who has spent most of his career on our White (scout) team, being plagued by injury and an apparent case of depression all along the way, “the Godfather” showed he absolutely deserved the opportunity he got on Saturday. Exploding for 5 goals and an assist, he started the game and led our squad to an ever-important victory over Lafayette. At one point, one of Lafayette’s attackmen turned to Mike Noone and asked him, “Who’s number 49? He wasn’t even on our scouting report.” To give my own opinion on that question, I think it’s safe to say that our number 49 would find his way onto any team’s scout if others saw what he does against our starting D in practice every day.
The rest of the senior class stepped up as well in the Lafayette game, fitting a trend that we’ve witnessed all season long. Adam Johnston put up a career-high 7 points…extra-motivated by the trip his Kristen made to see him play. The Lao-Gosney twins had typically strong performances in the midfield, although I’m sure Roman wishes he could have put up the kind of numbers that Adam or Kevin did to help keep him out of the doghouse later that night. Blaise “Blah-zay” Fullen combined a solid defensive performance with an unselfish assist off a transition opportunity in which he easily could have unleashed “Air Fullen” – his impressively fast and notoriously inaccurate shot. To me, that assist is a great reflection of the selflessness that Blaise has developed off the field. Apparently his emergence from the swamp has had a far broader effect than simply providing a nickname for our team’s quad stretches…I’ve smelt an Easter candle that proves it. Conor Murphy, Gaige Flint, and Dana Fry all got opportunities to step in as well and each made big plays down the stretch late in the game. As I’ve said time and time again, though, the role of this year’s senior class far transcends any specific on-field performance. These guys have undeniably been our leaders all year and, beyond that, since well before they were even upperclassmen.
It’s fitting to acknowledge leadership now, being the time of year that it’s most important. Want a prime example of a leader, of a guy who genuinely cares about his team? Think about a man with his fiancé in labor and his team on the verge of its league’s playoffs all at once. Think about Brendan Callahan. This week, our admirable defensive coordinator has managed to support his families during the times in which they’ve needed him most…both the biological one and the lacrosse one. He’s sitting a few rows in front of me right now, and I’m sure he’s relieved at the successful delivery of Mac Michael Callahan into his life. It’s hard to imagine Mac turning out to be any less of a legend that his old man…congratulations, Coach.
With all this said, I can’t deny that Lafayette wasn’t our team’s only focus last Friday night. We all predictably tuned in to watch Colgate edge out Bucknell in the final seconds of play during that game. It was that outcome, not the Lafayette game, that determined our fate for this upcoming weekend. That fate, as it turns out, is coming to fruition with this bus trip to Hamilton and the Patriot League Tournament waiting for us at the end of the road. We’ve known since Friday that we’d be facing Army in tomorrow’s semis. Army, therefore, has been our team’s sole focus all week.
Film sessions, lifts, practices, meetings, scouting reports, individual stick work…this week, all of these measures of preparation have intensified more than ever before. In the Division I lacrosse landscape, let alone just the Patriot League, anything can happen on any given day. Time and time again, it’s the aspects of preparation, of heart, and of pure will that determine games over pure talent. Acknowledging this reality, our coaching staff and players have been focused on doing everything we can to get ready for the stiff challenge facing us tomorrow night. Respecting this challenge, realizing this opportunity, remembering our mission from the get go…at this stage, the aspect of motivation takes care of itself.
I could go through and fill everyone in on what we’ve specifically done in practice over the past few days but, to be honest, those details aren’t really that significant. We’ve already played Army this season and therefore have a pretty relevant gauge of what to expect from their personnel. They’re in the same boat, so it’s reasonable to assume that they’ve been preparing in similar fashion. Tomorrow’s game will surely be different than the last one though…a different field, two different teams, and much different implications on the line. This season, as every season does, all comes down to the playoffs. It’s certainly nice to acknowledge what our team has accomplished thus far, but it would almost certainly be self-fulfilling to think of those accomplishments in a complacent manner.
At the end of the day, success breeds complacency but complacency has never bred success. For the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, tomorrow night’s game is the only one that means anything in the grand scheme of things. The time has come to make this season truly significant for the legacy of our program. The time has come to earn the rings we’ve been chasing all along.