Fireside Chat With Adam Lopez, Portland State

Lopez (#5) clearing against the Vandals

This past week I had a chance to catch up with Adam Lopez, a defenseman for the Portland State Vikings out of the PNCLL. PSU has been the talk of the Northwest this season after reeling off three straight wins before losing a tight contest to the University of Idaho last weekend.

The 3-1 record already surpasses their entire win total for last year so it’s not too early to call the Vikes one of the surprises of the young 2010 season.

LaxAllStars: Talk about your lacrosse experience? What brought you to PSU and why did you decide to play for the Vikings?
Adam Lopez: My lacrosse experience started out in West Linn, playing youth lacrosse there from the 6th grade. I have played every single position in lacrosse except for attack but my true love was always to play defense so that is what I am doing now.

I played for team Oregon as a goalie, defense and also midfield. What brought me to PSU was my life really… having a good steady job and my whole life I played ice hockey in Beaverton for the River City Jaguars in addition to coaching youth lacrosse at West Linn. Leaving to go somewhere else would have been really hard and possibly even a set back.

My whole thing about playing for PSU was just coming across the team last year. I was walking to my car one night and saw them practicing. I had taken a couple years off of playing lacrosse and really missed playing the game so I decided to start playing again. Last year for me was really good as a warm up year to get all my kinks out. Now that I’m back into the swing of things, lax could not be better.

PSU is a relatively new program in the competitive PNCLL and you guys are coming off a 2-10 season last year. What did the team do different to prepare for this season?

Adam Lopez: This year we have a new head coach Jon Ewertz. He has been a great thing for this team in taking a big leap forward. Another thing that turned out to be very successful is our recruiting class. Last season we did not have a very big recruiting class but this year we got a lot of talent from our recruits.

You have a lot of new faces on the Vikings this year? How did the team gel so quickly and name some of your teammates we should watch out for?
Adam Lopez: Like I said. we have a ton of new players this year which was really a blessing from last season. Our team came together quickly from not only the teachings of Jon Ewertz but also having a successful fall ball and our one road trip we take to Humbolt California where there is a tournament every fall.

That trip each year has proven to be a team building experience and lets everyone get to know each other. Also a lot of the new players we have this year are from the Northwest, and we all kind of knew about each other when we all met and started practicing.

Some of the new guys that should be looked out for are Curtis Kisky from Lakeridge High School, he is a big mean defender. Also from California we have Keith Jayne and from Southridge High School, Nik Lund. Those two guys are some of the point leaders so far in the MCLA. Of course how could I not mention our All-American goalie from Oregon Episcopal School Andrew Parker. He is one of the best goalies I have ever seen.

What should our readers know about your coaches? Talk about their coaching styles and approach to the game ?
Adam Lopez: Jon has been a great coach for this team. He is always positive and knows how to teach the game well. Knowing what he was walking into from last season, we had a lot of guys that had very little experience, he has been able to teach everyone about the game and how to play it well. He demands hard work and always wants us to get better each time we step on the field, which has proven to be a success so far this year.

We have Danny Ernst and Alex Jonsson as coaches as well. I know you played with both guys at University of Oregon and having both of them is great. They are both awesome coaches and like Jon they expect nothing but the best from our team.

What are your expectations for the team this season? Personal goals?
Adam Lopez: This year’s expectations are way above last season. Last year was a much less competitive mindset than the mentality we have this year. We’re all about respect this year since we got tossed around last season. Making the PNCLL playoffs is our top priority. I do not really have any personal goals, I just want our team to be successful and knock some heads around.

What kind of pole and head are you rockin’ these days? Who is the master stringer on your team?
Adam Lopez: For defense I am using a Brine Cyber Pro X, on my short stick I am using a Warrior Revo Pro X. We have 4 guys on the team that can string a mean stick. You have myself, Coach Jonsson, Nik Lund, and Jake Ostrow.

You have some experience coaching at the youth level and your brother is also a longtime JV coach for West Linn HS… do you think this helps your game?
Adam Lopez: I have always been a big believer in coaching the game. I think that is really the best way to learn anything. One way to master a subject is to be able to successfully teach it to someone else.

If you can teach something like lacrosse to a bunch of young teenagers, you have to know something about the game. There’s no doubt in my mind that coaching will make someone a better player as well, I mean coaching just gives you a completely different perspective on the game.

Is there a game or road trip you are most excited for this season?
Adam Lopez: Somehow our team lucked out and we only have two little road trips this year but I am most excited for our trip down to Eugene to play University of Oregon to show them what we got this year. It’s like night and day from last season.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Adam Lopez: All I have to say is be ready to start hearing about PSU this year because I think some teams are going to be in for a big surprise.

This has been another Lax All Stars Fireside Chat. Stay tuned to the LAS Network for more interviews and see our full list of interviews here.

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    • With the local talent that the City of Portland has, PSU may become a dominant force in the MCLA within a few years. It will be interesting to see how and if that plays out. I know I've heard talk of Casey Powell and other MLL stars making appearances at practice. The strides they've made in just a single year are phenomenal. Feasibly, a growing PSU squad could cut into the recruiting classes of Oregon and Oregon State. This is all, of course, contingent on any number of local variables that I can't speak intelligently about.

      • PSU still has that rep but the resources for traditional students get better every year (brand new Rec Center and new dorms with many more projects currently underway). PSU already has it's own 2 screen movie theatre, bowling alley and video game lounge to name a few. Because there are so many commuters, there is more money from fees to support activities and facilities for traditional college students. PSU has strong business (one of UO's strengths) and science (one of OSU's strengths) programs. The professors are top notch because the city attracts talented educators who want to live in Portland. It is just hard to get kids who grew up in Portland to stay local. Although the Viks do have some great home grown talent. I think PSU will be able to recruit outside the Portland Metro area very well because Portland is a great city to live in and players are looking for a chance to play from day one, not 2-3 years into their college career.