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.
Jason Coppersmith, Senior Defenseman from Boca Raton, Fla.
BLOG ENTRY 5
After winning our first game against Bryant on Saturday, guys came in Monday with the attitude and determination of seeking the victorious feeling again. We kicked off the day with the start of a new lifting block that included barbell lunges, RDLs to shrugs, weighted Russian twists, and some other fun stuff. We later had a film session before practice to put a cap on the Bulldogs, and followed it up with Coach beginning to motivate us for Vermont.
Practice kicked off with maroon ground balls (coach in the corner of the field with a ball, then 4 lines to both sides of him in alternating colors. He rolls out the ball and whatever team gets it has a 4 vs. 4 to the cage). The tempo was definitely there for all of practice as people were flying around and sticking their nose in for every ball. Later we moved into 1 vs. 1s at two sides of the field. On the defensive end, two guys who really stood out were Bobby “Rattlesnake” Lawrence and Matt Yeager. I don’t think either of them got beat in the 10 minutes we worked on this. At the end of the day, coach reminded us that we are still looking for that perfect game where everything goes our way. He also put number 45, Denis Brown, on the lunch pail for the solid work he did the previous week imitating a Bryant player.
Tuesday was when we got into the Vermont scout. Coaches Starsia and Abbott played clips for us to watch as an introduction. After stick work and stretching we got into 3 vs. 3s at two cages and later gave out scout jerseys to the respective guys. Two players who stood out on a day when we weren’t at our best were sophomores Tim Cashman and Aaron Darr. Both did a great job of working hard and making plays throughout the practice. At the end, coach told us how we couldn’t settle for good enough; mediocre won’t cut it for him and it shouldn’t for us either. He sent us off with the message that if we want to be great, then every day has to be great.
When digging deeper into this message, being great involves on and off the field. Practice is only two hours of the day, and to get better people need to put in extra time. So after lift on Wednesday, Connor Brown, Ben Shapiro, Chris Seter and myself all went into Sanford Fieldhouse to work on additional things. Whether it be throwing against the wall, passing with a teammate, or shooting on the run, it was great to see some of the younger players putting in the time to get better outside of practice.
That afternoon the team met in our ready room at Andy Kerr to discuss Tuesday’s film. The coaches pointed out some mistakes and solid plays to build on for the day, and everything seemed to be understood as practice unfolded. Everything looked as good or better than it had in a while: man down was very cohesive, our scout teams were giving good looks, and the offense was moving the ball well. Wednesday displayed to our coaching staff that we had heard the previous day’s message loud and clear.
On Thursday, practice dealt a lot with the offense and defense playing against the scout units to feel really comfortable against the upcoming opponent. The offense seemed to be clicking with all their plays, and coach Abbott looked pretty confident about our strategy on that side of the field. The defense worked on straight up man to man from up top for a bit, and then we all got into 6 vs. 6 at two ends. We also went over our clear a lot as we struggled a bit against Bryant’s ten-man ride the previous week. As we came in from practice, our scouting reports were in our lockers and we went through it as a team. The first page of the packet (usually an overview of the game and inspiration) had a quote from Vince Lombardi, “Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call heart power. Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop him short of success.” This game would be about our heart power and not letting anything get in our way from winning the game.
Friday’s pregame practice was similar to the ones we had had the previous weeks. We started with full field over the shoulder passing (one person throws the ball from the face-off x to a player on the goal line. That player then throws it to a guy breaking up the field from the sideline at the restraining box, and next he throws it to a breaking player from just over the midfield sideline. Finally, he throws it to an attackman at the far side goal line for a give-and-go, ending in a shot on cage), then moved into box passing, and finished by going over situations along with man up/man down. Coach had us watch a few film clips after practice to finish the practice week; the last of which was Vermont’s celebration after beating us last year. This included them storming the field like they had just won the national championship. Coach Murphy then simply told us how that was not going to happen tomorrow.
We woke up on Saturday an hour earlier than normal due to the game’s start time being at noon. There was a team breakfast at Frank Dining Hall per usual, which was followed by most of us heading down to the locker room (some guys had to get their cup o’ joe fix prior to the trek). Awaiting us again were our home whites and Nike pullovers. After getting changed, we met up in our ready room to go over our keys to the game. Coach Abbott talked about moving 1000 mph and moving with a purpose, while Coach Starsia stressed playing as seven guys together. The coaching staff emphasized that the day was about us, and it was a day for retribution. This retribution could only be accomplished by every single one of us doing it together- the only way we do things now.
The game started with a face-off win by Rob Grabher who would go on to have an exceptional day at the X (going 17/21). Soon after, Jeff Ledwick beat his man to put in his first of three goals on the day, and get us on the board first. Defensively, our scheme worked amazingly as the Catamounts’ offense seemed to struggle with tough play out of our D middies John Donnally, Jimmy Ryan, and Geoff Sullivan. The first half ended with us up by two, yet we hadn’t played as well as we could have on the offensive side of the ball. The coaches said their piece at half, and we came out ready to finish them off in the second half. Peter Baum did his thing by scoring a hat trick in the game, even as they tried to shut him off. Colby Wilson also recorded a three goal outing, with the final goal being scored by junior, Matt Baker.
As the final seconds ticked away and we won the game 10-6, you could tell that the returning players from last year all felt very pleased with the result. As we met in the team room before heading back to the locker room, coach congratulated us all on our second win. Upon entering the locker room, we put on what has now become our victory song from Fast Five.
The feeling of beating a team we lost to last year is great, but Dartmouth is coming into town next week, and they’re just another obstacle in our way. Our focus has already shifted to the Big Green with our sights set on a 3-0 start.