February 19, 2008

M. Lax Scrimmages Hopkins

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Though an ever-present wintry mix falls from the sky in Ithaca, some athletes already have spring on the mind. Regardless of weather or season, the men’s lacrosse team was ready to take the field on Saturday in its second scrimmage of the year. The Red faced the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays — the reigning NCAA champions.
[img_assist|nid=27961|title=Ad-Meyer-able|desc=After backing up Matt McMonagle, senior Jake Meyers gets a chance to shine in net in Saturday’s scrimage against Johns Hopkins.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]“We were pleased that our guys came out and played with a lot of confidence early in the scrimmage and appeared to have a lot of fun,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “I think that made it a successful afternoon. When I say successful, I think we are keeping in mind that it was just a scrimmage and we weren’t keeping score. The evaluation for our staff and our team was play to play not a scoreboard. They were all we expected them to be and more, and it was exactly what we needed to face.”
With a gaping hole in the goaltender position left by Matt McMonagle ’07, last year’s unanimous Ivy League Player of the Year, finding a replacement in the net has been a priority throughout the preseason. On Saturday, senior Jake Myers finally got his chance to show that he might be a solid potential alternative for starting goalie.
“Every position is evaluated week by week,” Tambroni said. “You look at our guys up and down the field. Playing time is earned based on their performance throughout the week of practice and throughout the weekend. Jake did what he needed to do to put himself in a good position to be our game day starter against Navy. We are hopeful that he will come in this week and build on what he did, but we are also hopeful that he will work on what he didn’t do so well and help us build defensively from the goal out. He’s got some work to do, but I also think that this weekend could be a nice boost of confidence because he did make some good saves throughout the weekend.”
Across the field, the Red showed that despite a lot of new faces, they could quickly learn to play as a team. With the leadership of athletic rocks like junior Max Seibald, the offense was able to create good opportunities against a very confident and talented opponent.
“The faces may have changed, but each of these guys has put themselves into a position to earn playing time, and assume the role that has been left behind,” Tambroni said. “We have tried not to put too much pressure on anyone. … We just want them to compliment our offense and our defense. Hopefully we’ll be similar in the style in which we play, getting up and down the field intelligently. Certainly the faces will be different, but that’s not necessarily good or bad.”
Even though the scoreboard couldn’t provide any feedback, the Red learned a lot about how far it has come over the last 14 days of practice and how much farther it needs to go to reach its potential. Facing a challenging adversary like Navy in its first regular season game of the season, the Red will be working hard this week to keep up its steady improvement.
“Because it’s so early in the season and because we’ve only been out for 14 days of practice … I don’t think there is anything we can afford not to work on at this point of the season,” Tambroni said. “We just have to be cognizant that it is a long season and that we are doing everything we need to do to improve at all facets of our game.”