February 9, 2007

Men’s Lacrosse Competes in Second Exhibition Match

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Although the weather promises to be the warmest it has been all week, it will only be slightly less than frigid when the men’s lacrosse team takes the field tomorrow afternoon. In the second scrimmage of a three-week preseason, the men’s lacrosse team will face off against Loyola. Armed with sweat-suits and adrenaline, the team will be focused on bringing the “heat” against a very talented adversary.

“The challenge of difficult weather conditions makes us more adept at handling tough situations, whatever they may be,” said senior co-captain Mitch Belisle.

After scrimmaging Drexel last weekend, the Red has a good sense of what it needs to do against a challenging team like Loyola. Although it’s just a scrimmage, the men realize the importance of approaching the game with energy, enthusiasm and intent to win. Scrimmages like this one serve as a way to measure the team’s progress and also help to develop cohesion among players.

“We are approaching this weekend as a scrimmage but also as a way to find out who we are,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “We know the scoreboard isn’t the end all be all, but we still want to score.”

With 12 new players, the team is faced with the challenge of coming together and playing as a team. Fortunately, the team has experienced players at every position who will serve as leaders for their younger teammates. With senior co-captains Belisle and Matt McMonagle, classmates Ethan Vedder and David Mitchell, along with sophomore Max Seibald manning different units, the Red will focus on team cohesion and improving all aspects of its game. “In all of our scrimmages, our goals are focused more on developing as a team rather than on the opponent,” Belisle said. “We really want to work on playing better together and having our offense, defense and transition games work well independently and together.”

Still, the Red has a few specific goals in mind that it hopes to achieve tomorrow. Against Drexel, the men managed to create good scoring opportunities, but struggled to capitalize. In order to improve on this, the men intend to elevate the speed of the game, which will help the attack get their shots off faster. In addition, winning face offs will be important against Loyola, a team known for being one of the better face off squads in the country.

“On the field, we need sheer production. We’ve done a decent job setting up opportunities but we need to put the ball in the cage,” Tambroni said. “We need to take the next step in competition by taking advantage of the opportunity at hand.”

As the regular season approaches, the team is hopeful that everything they have been working hard on will start to come together. Ideally, it wants to come out of this scrimmage and preseason with a better understanding of one another and how they want to perform.

“We are going to go out there and hope that at the end of the day we are competing,” Tambroni said. “It’s difficult to develop heart and passion so we hope to bring it on to the field tomorrow and develop it throughout this preseason.”