March 17, 2004

Leading the Laxers' Attack

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Andrew Collins doesn’t take his role as team leader lightly. The senior attackman is one of four captains on this year’s men’s lacrosse squad, and hopes to parlay that role into success for the Red.

“When you look at our offensive end, we’ve got a lot of talent back there. I think that what we’ve needed is just a backbone of just emotion and constant vocal leadership to get everybody excited to play,” he said. “I thought I’ve really brought a lot last year coming to this year now as a captain, just my vocal and emotional intensity day in and day out has really helped our offense be really intense and really compete.”

Competing day in and day out has become Collins’ modus operandi over his past few years with the Cornell lacrosse program.

“In the past year and a half, he’s taken himself out of his own role and he’s decided to help this team be as successful as it could be,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “Where he’s changed is he’s taken this entire team and this program into account.”

The attitude has reaped immediate dividends on the field for Collins and the Red. Last season, Collins emerged as a top scoring threat — not just for Cornell, but throughout the country. He scored 59 points, seeing action in all 13 of Cornell’s games in 2003. The 4.54 average was tops in the nation. Combined with junior Sean Greenhalgh, Collins is an important half of one of the most dominating scoring combinations in the country.

“He’s probably a guy who over the last year and a half has been extremely underrated in the county,” Tambroni said. “To lead the country in points per game and not be considered an All-American, to me it was a disappointment, because I know how hard he worked last year and what he meant to this team.”

But to understand Collins’ work ethic is to know how far he has come to this point.

“Andrew and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye,” Tambroni said. “I’ve always felt that he’s extremely talented, and that’s where I’ve had a problem with Andrew. I feel like he was always one of the most talented lacrosse players we’ve had but I felt like he’s never driven himself to a point where he could tap that potential.”

“I think I’ve just matured as a player a lot from freshman year when I just wasn’t playing much to sophomore year when I didn’t think that I was reaching my potential, to last year where I thought I was just starting to reach my potential,” Collins agreed. “I think I’ve got a ways to go but I think I’ve really developed and matured in my three years exponentially.”

Accordingly, as Collins goes, so goes the team. In three games so far this year, the Red has been highly dependant upon Collins’ production. In the team’s two wins, Collins recorded at least three assists. When the laxers lost to Georgetown on March 6, Collins was held to just two points.

“If he’s not getting it done, then we’re probably not getting it done,” Tambroni noted.

But the seemingly natural connection between Andrew Collins and a lacrosse field has not always existed. Always a very strong athlete, Collins’ introduction to the game came in a most unanticipated way — via the baseball diamond.

“I was actually a big time baseball player in high school,” he recalled. “I went to the baseball tryouts, and all my friends were playing lacrosse. Our lacrosse team had just won a couple of state titles and our baseball team wasn’t that good. I went there with baseball clothing on and I wound up just putting down my glove and getting a lacrosse stick.”

Tambroni couldn’t be happier Collins made that decision.

“I think he’s given himself a stabilized voice in the locker room and on the field that people do listen to,” he said. “Right now, his experience, his dedication, his change in focus to our team has allowed him to be the leader that he is, our team respects him for it.”

Archived article by Owen Bochner