5 and 5: Questions with pro lacrosse player Ben Randall
New York Lizards defenseman and MLL all-star Ben Randall answers five questions about life on the lacrosse field and five questions about life off it.
New York Lizards defenseman Ben Randall was an All-American at Ohio State and helped lead the Buckeyes to their first NCAA lacrosse championship appearance in 2017. Ben Randall was recently named to his first MLL All-Star Game, so Pro Lacrosse Talk sat down with the Lizards’ defenseman to ask him five questions about life on the lacrosse field and five questions about life off the field.
Questions about lacrosse
Pro Lacrosse Talk: This is your first year with the New York Lizards, how have you adjusted to playing with your new team and who has been the best mentor or teammate since your arrival?
Ben Randall: It hasn’t been too hard adjusting because I am somewhat familiar with the area from my time at Stony Brook. This is also my third MLL team in my two years in the league, so I’ve been having to adjust pretty frequently. There are some familiar faces on the team just from being on the same team in previous years.
Given everything that’s happened in the professional lacrosse world in the past year, between the [formation of the] PLL and the MLL folding three teams, the rosters have seen a lot of turnover, so most people on the team haven’t been there before. One person who has taken a leadership position has been our goalie Austin Kaut. He’s done a good job of taking control of the defense and helping people out both on and off the field.
PLT: You did your best goalie impersonation during the Lizards’ first game against the Bayhawks by snagging a shot out of the air to prevent an open net goal. In terms of the best plays of your lacrosse career, where does that rank for you?
BR: That definitely took some luck catching that ball, but it was cool hearing the crowd react to it and having people coming up to me asking how I did it. I’d say it’s up there in my top plays, but I personally like my plays involving stick checks, stripping other players or de-sticking them. And I haven’t scored a goal since my senior year of high school so I don’t have many of those in my top plays.
PLT: How do you stay focused when your team doesn’t play well or during stretches when you personally don’t play your best?
BR: It’s all about having a short memory and staying in the moment. You can’t get caught up in poor performances. If you’re constantly thinking about how you messed up a play or lost a game, then you’re never going to move on.
PLT: Who is someone in the lacrosse community that you admire or enjoy playing for, with or against (coach, teammate, opponent, etc) and why?
BR: Someone I’ve enjoyed playing both with and against is Matt Rambo. I had the opportunity to cover him 3 times my junior year at Ohio State, in the regular season, Big Ten Championship and National Championship. A lot of times when you’re in a game it can be pretty intense and the defender and attack don’t really talk to each other, but Rambo was always super relaxed and just talking about whatever. Then when I played for the Charlotte Hounds, I was on the same side as him. He’s a fun, goofy guy that is good to have on your team.
PLT: What advice do you have for young lacrosse players hoping to play at the college and professional level?
BR: For younger players looking to play in college, don’t get discouraged if you’re not from one of the hotbeds like New York or Maryland. You might have to work a little harder to get noticed, but anyone can do it, no matter where you’re from. You’re seeing it more and more nowadays with collegiate rosters having people from the Midwest, West Coast, the South—all places that people don’t associate with lacrosse. You just have to keep working at it and be willing to travel, whether it’s to the specific college’s camp or a major tournament or camp that’s far away.
Questions about life
PLT: What did you study in college and how do you think your time at both Stony Brook and Ohio State have prepared you for life on and off the lacrosse field?
BR: I studied finance in college. My time in college has helped me develop some life skills that I can use off the field. Time management was probably the biggest one. Being a student athlete is extremely demanding so you really have to learn to use your time wisely. On the field I learned to be coachable, which can also be helpful in a lot of different real life situations.
PLT: What are some hobbies or activities you enjoy doing when not on the lacrosse field?
BR: I enjoy playing other sports when I’m not on the lacrosse field. I like to snowboard, golf, bowl, fish and play basketball; pretty much anything with my friends. I also like to read, watch TV and hang out with my dog.
PLT: What is your favorite meal and do you prefer to dine out, take out or cook at home?
BR: My favorite meal is tacos. You can’t really go wrong cooking at home or dining out, but if I’m going out then I’ll go to a taco place called Condado.
PLT: What is one of your favorite places to go when on Long Island?
BR: I have two go-to spots on Long Island. The best sandwich and pizza I’ve ever had have come from there. My favorite deli that I used to go to all the time when I was at Stony Brook is Seport, and the best pizza is the chicken bacon ranch slice from O Sole Mio.
PLT: Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?
BR: My parents have been the most influential people in my life. They’ve always been there for me and have been extremely supportive in everything I do.