The big Mardi Gras parades were this weekend, and as I mentioned in one of my previous articles, everything you’ve seen about Mardi Gras is 100% true. Most of the pictures I took got deleted off of my phone (girlfriend proofing), so here’s some G-Rated pictures.
Since Louisiana shuts down for Mardi Gras (literally), there were no lacrosse games played this weekend in our state.
So, we turn to Texas.
I was fortunate enough to hear back from Noah Fink, head coach of the University of Texas lacrosse program, and William Lawson, VP of the team. If you didn’t know, lacrosse in Texas is a pretty big deal, and the University of Texas lacrosse team has, in my opinion, one of the finest programs in the country. Am I biased because I’m from the South, played a whole bunch of teams from Texas, and was born in Texas?
Yes, I am. But that doesn’t change the fact that UT is a solid team.
One of the coolest things about this UT team isn’t that they’re so good, however. It’s how humble they are, and how much they respect and love the game. Check out the interview below after some UT eye candy.
LAS: Who are some of your players we should watch out for this year?
Coach Fink: A bunch of talented players on the squad this year. Stefan Knipp, LSM and close D, is one of, if not the best pole in the league. He is great on ball and can shut down any team’s top player. He is also great in transition and on GB’s. Kevin Dolezal, close D, is someone who will shut down any top attackmen.
On the attack, Tyler Nix and Charlie Frazer will pace the offense and produce. Both talented attackmen and very aggressive riders. Spencer Price is an AA from San Diego, and will be back on the field in a few weeks. He is talented and will be a game changer. Doug Boyer and Joe Scaling are both dangerous as well and round out a strong unit.
We have a deep midfield with lots of guys that can score. William Lawson, Johnny McKnight and Austin Mai is our Highland Park line and can all put the ball in the net. Our second line with Trevor Howard, Eric Flelps and Person Suniga are just as dangerous and give us great depth.
What do you do to get ready for a big game?
CF: We try to stay loose and focus on the little things that we need to do. Overall, our focus this year is on eliminating turnovers and keeping the ball doing the work. We try to approach every game the same way so that the guys feel some consistency. We provide basics scouts for now and as we get into the season we’ll give them more to focus on with the opponent.
What team are you guys looking forward to playing the most this year? Why?
CF: Every game is fun to us. We huddle before every game and try to remember what a honor and privilege it is to be able to compete with our teammates and friends. We have lost some players to accidents and our goal is to respect how great it is to play the game every time we are on the field.
Do you guys usually get a good turn out to Home games? What do you do to get people into your stands? What needs to happen to get more people to your games?
CF: Depends on the game, but anywhere from 200-1000. A&M is always a good draw. This weekend we had a few hundred come and see us play at a local HS turf field. We work with local youth groups/ teams to get them to come and support the horns. Lots of the HS teams come and see us when they can.
We are a tight community in TX and everyone loves the Horns, well except for the few Aggie fans. But, really Austin loves to cheer for anything in burnt orange. Some of the team participates in fraternities, so we get a decent following from friends and family.
For road games, how do you arrange travel and lodging? Who authorizes the spending?
CF: The VP on the team is responsible for travel. The president and I help him out as needed.
How often do you practice?
CF: 4-5 times per week.
What are practices like? How are the practice and game facilities?
CF: We start with some stick drills. Upbeat practice, with lots of unsettled drills that always ends with some 6vs 6 or full field. Our facility is huge, but protected well from the University. With rain, we are doing chalk, film or running.
We have a complex being built. Here’s the complex
What is your personal goal for 2010? What are the team goals for 2010?
CF: To see the team improve every game and every day. Our goals are to play the best game we can each week, and be in a spot to win every game we play on the schedule and post season.
The following questions were answered by William Lawson, a Junior middie out of Highland Park, and Vice President of the UT Lacrosse team. He’s a particularly busy guy – he stays on top of his school work, doesn’t miss practice or games, plans and coordinates the teams’ travel arrangements, and is involved with a fraternity. So we really appreciate him taking the time to talk to us.
LAS: How much does it cost a player to play for UT (all expenses considered)?
William Lawson: $1,750 is the average cost
Is there a place where we can get UT lax merch?
WL: Yes, you can email Stefan Knipp at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll hook you up.
Pregame music and meal?
WL: Kevin Dolezal makes a playlist for us to listen to during our pregame. No meal.
What made you choose UT? Did you know anything about the lax team when you enrolled?
WL: I chose Texas because I was always a Texas fan as a kid. I grew up going to Texas football games, and was lucky enough to see Ricky Williams in the Cotton Bowl right after he won the Heisman trophy. My dad went to Texas. When I was young, he taught me that everyone wants to be a Longhorn, but not everyone can be. I didn’t know much about the lacrosse team when I enrolled.
When did you first pick up a stick? Where’d you play HS ball?
WL: 7th grade. Highland Park High School
Compare your HS lacrosse experience to your collegiate lacrosse experience.
WL: Completely different. In high school, we were a run and gun team. Coach Thomson at Highland Park wanted to make teams try to match our athleticism at midfield. So we would make the game a track meet. We runned and gunned.
At Texas it’s a little bit more of a conservative approach. We play solid defense and try to never give up any transition. We also settle the ball down on offense and get our offensive personnel on the field.
What gear are you using now?
We have STX gloves and arm pads. We also have the new Cascade helmets.
Final question… Will UT ever go NCAA? If yes, when?
WL: I hope so. Who knows? Hopefully in 5 or 10 years.
About the author: Knox is a 24 year old High School Head Coach in a small area east of Baton Rouge. He played High School ball for four years, and college ball for about 1 week until he realized his collegiate priorities rested with more important things like partying and eventually trying to get his grades up. He enjoys things that most Louisiana people do – eating boiled crawfish and alligator, a cold Abita Amber, anything LSU, his dog, and his beautiful girlfriend, Audrey. Lacrosse is not listed because most Louisiana people have no idea what lacrosse is.
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