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Wilson’s Wheelhouse: NCAA Wrap-Up & A Look Forward To Summer!

4 - Published June 4, 2010 by in Club, College

The college lacrosse season is over and while some wistful tears have been shed, the end of the world is NOT at hand, unless you’re talking about Oil spills or the Korea’s potentially going to war or any other number of nasty events.  We’re going to stick with lacrosse though because the rest of it just gets us too depressed.

Ned Crotty took home the Tewaraaton Trophy.  Good for him!  He was the best player on the National Championship winning team and he put up stats for all to marvel at while also providing that X factor at the same time.  He made people around him better, had the full offensive skill set and seemed happy to play attack or midfield.  It took a real leader by example to get Duke the NC win they craved so badly so I truly doubt there was a more deserving player out there.  Good call!

I won’t talk about the D1 NCAA game… everyone has written about it ad-nauseum and I don’t know that I have much to add except that the game featured a school from North Carolina and a school from Indiana.  If we’re seeing this kind of parity at the D1 level, you know the game is starting to realize some of the benefits from its recent growth at the lower levels.

D2 saw CW Post repeat as National Champ.  LeMoyne came up a bit short, although for much of the game, at least in the earlier stages, they seemed to be in control.  Post used a shutdown second half D to contain the Dolphins and they kept on winning faceoffs.  Pair that with a hot goalkeeper and the games was theirs to lose.  What stood out to me most in both the Championship game and the Semis was the range of skills on the field.  There were a couple of guys who could have been D1 All Americans.  There were some other guys who got good minutes who wouldn’t see time on most NESCAC teams in D3.

The large range of skill and athleticism allows for two great things: 1) star players can get a good matchup and really shine. 2) when there is a great 1 on 1 matchup, you’ll see some of the best lax on the planet.  CW Post will reload next year as they return some solid players and LeMoyne will challenge as well.

These are both traditional powerhouse programs and next year I’d love to see someone new get into the game like what happened in the D1 and D3 tourneys.  Another thing D2 needs is expansion outside of traditional hotbeds and with D2 teams in Cali, Florida and Arizona, I hope the tourney expansion happens soon.  It all depends on more schools adding the sport however.

Tufts took home the D3 National Title as they dismantled the Salisbury Gulls.  They went up early and although the Salisbury D and keeper really stepped up as the game progressed, the Gulls couldn’t make a comeback as the Tufts D and keeper were up to the task all day.  I’ve watched this game 4 times now and have noticed a few major takeaway points.  Tufts was athletic and they played hard.

By athletic I mean that almost every kid was fast AND strong and they made great plays on the ball.  When I say they played hard, I mean that relatively in that they played HARDER than Salisbury.  It is an attitude thing.  Tufts wanted it more and that was 100% evident and anyone who says differently didn’t see the game.  Tufts went all out, SU didn’t.  VERY simple concept but one that needs to be drilled into the kids that don’t already posses the trait.

The last thing I noticed was that every player on the Tufts team seemed very comfortable with the ball in their stick.  SSDMs, faceoff guys, longsticks… they ALL carried the ball against anyone and showed no fear.  They also held onto the rock.  For any team looking to make the leap to the next level, this is something to take away:  good teams make sure that their players that can handle the ball, no matter what their “job” is.

I saw a number of MCLA and NCAA games where certain players were not confident with the ball in their stick and seemed timid to run or dodge.  Now moving forward, if your team wants to succeed, this simply HAS to change.  It’s summer time so play catch with your friends and hit the wall.  It’s honestly, the very least you can do to help your team improve.

Since I am retired from truly competitive lax (although I still manage to get my fix in) I only play wall ball once or twice a week but it keeps me from being totally rusty and old.  What do I need to stay in shape for?  A full summer lax schedule is what!

I’ll be playing in the Gotham Lacrosse League in NYC up at Columbia’s athletic complex and it should be another great season.  Southampton Brewery LC is back in action facing off against some of the biggest banks in America and we’re pumped to take it to the next level.  We even have some recent Duke grads coming to play so we should be able to run with anyone.  We’ll have photos and some video from the best summer league in the country all summer long.

I’ll also be playing in the Ulax league on Sunday nights to get some extra run in.  The league is laid back and a lot of fun because I can play attack and not embarrass myself too badly, which is nice.  I love picking up the shortie, especially my wooden box stick, and ripping the quacker a little bit.  I’m no Steven Brooks but I have some game on O… probably close to 412′s level of play.  He’ll disagree with me here (since true attackmen are a little soft) but that’s why we have our own posts.

I’ve got new product coming in from equipment and jersey manufacturers so you can get set up for the 2011 season.  We’ve got interviews with huge stars and newcomers to the game.  We’ll have unique world games coverage as well.  We’re also going to run some sweet contests where we drop tons of schwag on the readers because you guys are awesome.  If you’ve got ideas or want to see something covered send me an email!  We always want to hear what you all want to see!

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About the Author: Connor is a life-long lacrosse player who doesn’t know when to give up on the game. He played and coached at Wesleyan University and now plays for the Southampton LC in NYC. Connor lives with his fiance in Brooklyn and thanks her for allowing him to keep the dream alive.

Contact him at connor@lacrosseallstars.com.

I’ll also be playing in a couple of tourneys out on Long Island with Southampton and we’ll be returning to the Citylax fundraising tourney, which was a huge summer highlight last year.  The entire LAS crew will be out in Tahoe for that tourney in late July and I’m pumped to get out there this summer.  I’ve heard good things!

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