Colgate Men’s Lacrosse 2012 Player Blog, Beat Pancreatic Cancer

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.

Colgate Lacrosse
Jason Coppersmith, Senior Defenseman from Boca Raton, Fla.

Week of January 30th -February 5th 2012

As our final week of preseason got underway, a group of us awoke on Monday morning to go to lift. After going through our full body exercises, it is customary to clean the weight room, and “put everything back the way we found it”. However, for Colby Wilson, this wasn’t as easy a feat as normal. While bending down to pick up the dip bar for the Olympic rack, he hit the back of his head on the barbell coming up, which then propelled his head forward into the dip bar and cut open his forehead (it wasn’t a horrific accident, just required two stitches).

Following the lift, we all went to our respective classes, and met up at 4:15 that afternoon for a film session regarding our scrimmage against Delaware. The film showed a lot of our mistakes from that Saturday, and Coach Murphy made sure to go over a lot of them. He then told us that it’s in the past and now we needed to go out to practice and prepare for a very good Cornell team coming to Hamilton. Monday’s practice then became one of the most energetic practices I’ve participated in. Guys were flying around, few mistakes were being made, and both the offense and defense were clicking. At the end of practice, the lunch pail was awarded to a guy who played very well versus Delaware: Gabe Lord. Everyone was very excited for him, and the week had begun on a great note.

Tuesday saw similar energy to Monday. It was another great practice consisting of a scrimmage, man up/man down, riding, and ground ball or die (a drill in which there are 3 guys all going for a ground ball by themselves. After the first one gets it, he’s out and the other two have to fight for a second ground ball. If you’re the third guy, you restart with two new, and fresh, people and it keeps going) Unfortunately for me, I got the ground ball first, but then had it picked by Denis Brown when I threw it to the goalie, and ended up being the last guy having to go again. The coaches told us how pleased they were with our day’s performance, and that we brought the energy for a second straight day.

Wednesday’s lift was nowhere near as dangerous as Monday’s. It was an upper body day where we did weighted dips, weighted chin-ups, high-pulls, shoulder rotations, and ended with a team ab session. A lot of guys added more weight than they had done the previous session and ended up getting more reps as well-it was a successful period in the weight room. The defense didn’t see this same accomplishment on the field later that day. Our defense was lacking energy; players were missing assignments, not communicating, and ultimately letting in too many goals. This would not be the case on Thursday.

The defense was asked to come early to practice to watch film from the previous day, while the offense went outside for shooting. Following a twenty-minute film meeting from the previous day’s struggles, Coach Murphy told us the most beautiful thing about the clips: all of the mistakes were correctible. We left the team room with renewed confidence and intensity, then came out and had a great day.

The first drill after stretching was 9 lines (half field 5 vs. 4s with the offense vs. the defense for two and a half minutes. It then switches to defense on offense and vice versa) with the defense winning. Because of this, the offense had to run 5 sideline-to-sideline sprints towards the end of practice. Prior to the seemingly fun running session, the attack seemed to be clicking with freshmen Ryan Walsh and Matt Clarkson playing well alongside Mike Thomas and Wilson in the apache drill (see last weeks post for the drill details). Practice ended with Coach Murphy telling us Saturday would be a test, and we want to come out flying, so tomorrow (Friday) had to be a strong pregame practice.

As we walked into the locker room Friday after classes, we all had a new shirt awaiting us. It was a purple Colgate Lacrosse shirt in honor of a women’s lacrosse player’s mom, Mandy O’Sullivan, who is battling pancreatic cancer. On the back of the shirts it says, “Know It. Fight It. Beat It.” We wore these shirts out to the field and took a picture with the women’s lacrosse team prior to playing. After that we got serious and took the field for stick work lines.

Coach Starsia talked our defense through many different defensive scenarios along with our man down, and Coach Abbott had our offense run through all the plays we would use the following day. While many of the younger players had recruits on Friday, a group of our defensive personnel went to Seven Oaks Clubhouse for dinner to start up a tradition before home games. The crew was comprised of Ben Shapiro, Kyle Stanich, Kevin Boyle, Jim Queeney, Kevin Gordon, Pat Shanley, Jared Madison, and myself. It was a fun time where we all just joked around and shared stories prior to the next day’s game.

Saturday morning kicked off with the team heading up the campus hill to Frank Dining Hall for breakfast. Many players left to go back to their rooms and rest a little bit or hang out before having to show up at 11 a.m. Some others headed straight down to the locker room earlier than necessary to receive treatment or throw around. At 12:12 we went onto Andy Kerr to start our pregame warm ups, followed by going into the team room under the stadium to finalize our strategy for the game. Overall, we were asked for the same three things as last week: energy, enthusiasm, and execution. We brought it in on Coach to hear him say, “On three together, because that’s how we’re going to get this done!” Then we formed two lines to take the field.

Rob Grabher took the opening face-off and scored just seven seconds into the game. Our sideline went crazy, but this was quieted by the 9-0 run Cornell followed it up with. As the first quarter ended Coach Murphy brought us in to tell us that this is where our mental toughness would be tested; how would we bounce back? He said how there were no nine-point goals, and we had to win each and every minute to come back. These words were heard with belief by all of us as we played our way back to a tie in the fourth quarter. We did this with guys like Jimmy Ryan and Bobby Lawrence stepping up on defense, and on the other side of the ball, middies Peter Baum, Jeff Ledwick, and Conor Braddish all had great performances. We ended up losing the scrimmage 15-14, but the resiliency shown was not lost on anyone.

Preseason’s over now, and Monday’s practice will be the start of Bryant week. Energy, enthusiasm, and execution aren’t only the things we need to abide by during games, but in every practice from here on out to ensure a successful season. With the Bulldogs coming to town, we have only one thing on our mind now: win.

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