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Best of the Quintessential Lacrosse Podcast

Lacrosse All Stars produces a weekly podcast, the Quintessential Lacrosse Podcast. Catchy name right? I host and speak with different personalities that include college coaches, pro players, PLL coaches, women’s stars, and media members. The weekly episodes are 30 minutes in length, and are uploaded to just about anywhere you can find podcasts.

This week’s guest is Michigan Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach, Kevin Conry. The sixth-year Wolverine provides a fall wrap-up, a 2023 personnel update, a spring schedule preview, and talks about Michigan turning one-goal defeats into victories. We also discuss his personal why and his hero. 

Here are some outtakes from recent podcasts to give listeners a sense of the content. I enjoy these weekly discussions immensely. It’s amazing what you can learn by just listening. Sometimes we get serious, we try to have fun, but we discuss all sorts of topics and hope the viewer benefits from it. 

Lars Tiffany – Virginia Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach

The Cavs are loaded in 2023.

“We’ve tried to approach this fall thinking about the question of, do we need to smash into each other as much as we normally do?’ We have so many fifth years, Cade Saustad, Petey LaSalla, Jeff Conner and others. What’s the fall look for them? Is a fifth fall of lifting and running too much? It can be a lot.”

A scrimmage with Lehigh left a bitter taste. Afterwards, Tiffany turned up the volume and amped the intensity of their workouts.

“We have to prove ourselves everyday and every time we take the field. We will not be defined by other teams picking up tough groundballs and the other team being more physical.”

Seth Tierney – Hofstra Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach, Assistant Coach Team USA

Hofstra will be improved in 2023. The CAA has a new look after re-alignment. 

“We return four out of our top five scorers including Gerard Kane, Rory Jones, and Matt Elder.”

The Pride look to challenge Delaware for the league title.

“Last year we were hit hard by the injury bug. We had seven shoulders all injured during games and two ACL’s.”

Tierney is an assistant offensive coach for the Team USA squad under the leadership of Duke Head Coach, John Danowski. The selection process is down to about fifty players and they will wrap up their World Championship roster selection this winter. The final decisions are agonizing for both players and staff. 

“We are looking for balance. Do we need to pick righties or lefties on attack? Or just flat out offensive players because we may only take nine offensive players to San Diego.  With the World Championship format of no shot clock, we will likely take four short stick defensive midfielders. So player versatility is giant. For example, a guy who can play attack and maybe run a midfield shift, is critical. This is more about balance.”

Charley Toomey – Loyola Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach

Lacrosse is a big-time sport at Loyola, a school without a college football team. 

“We spent time this fall at our annual retreat where the culture is ingrained into the current team.”

The Hounds will rely on new faces in 2023. One foundational player is short-stick defender Payton Rezanka, who has been trying out for Team USA. 

“The reports from the USA tryouts are all positive. They tell me that kid’s a beast. He’s doing it amongst pros. Payton will take a semester away from Loyola. He will be one of our leaders in the locker room and on the field in 2023.”

The Greyhounds have a heritage of stellar goalie play and that should be no different in 2023 with net-minder Jake Stoudt. 

“For us it’s important that the goalie catches the ball. That he has soft hands, corralling the ball to make a save, a true change in possession.”

Jon Gordon – Author and Motivational Speaker, Former Cornell Midfielder

“When trying to be a great teammate, whether it’s at work, at school or on a team, always remember the four C’s. Communicate. Connect. Commitment and care. Strong teammates have the mentality to put others first. Communicate and talk about issues. Connect first and then coach. Commit to sacrificing for others, and care about the team and people in your locker room. I talk about love and accountability where you’ve got to love tough. Be certain that love comes first.”

Adam Ghitelman – Goalie PLL Archers

Adam, a Utah resident, and I got down on the art and science of goaltending. 

“The goalie position as a pro involves elite studying. Many of the goalies in the PLL act as assistant defensive coordinators. I feel that way with Coach Tony Resch. By doing the work, you set yourself up and you set up your teammates. Preparation is key in the PLL. It’s still true that the work you do during the week leads to confidence on game day.  If you see great shots during the week, you’ll be ready. The pro game tests your mental endurance with the shot clock.  In the end, it’s about focus and making the two or three saves in the fourth quarter that can make a difference.”

PLL goalies are dealing with maximum velocity, accuracy and deception.

“The subtleties and nuances of the position can involve: How many fakes will the shooter take? What type of pocket is he using? What type of release does he have ? Where is the shot released from? Is it side-arm? Overhand? Or three-quarter? Or is he a shooter who has both? Where do they like to shoot from? Is he a far side shooter or a near side shooter? We’re seeing with the immersion of the box game, more players pulling the ball near side to the corner. So for me it’s about watching a lot of film, usually 2 or 3 complete games, and cut ups, and then watching pregame shooting. You want to see how these guys string their sticks. Does it have a lot of whip? Or will the ball come out quickly? All these little things help you anticipate and find an effective rhythm. You have to bounce with rhythm into where the shot is coming from. Without rhythm and balance it can get ugly at the pro level.”

Andy Shay – Yale Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach

Our September conversation about the Bulldogs ended with a culinary recommendation. When in New Haven, CT where do you eat pizza?

“We don’t take recruits, instead we let them choose for themselves. I’ve got to keep the weight off with my metabolism. We all like Modern Pizza of the big four. Modern is the best and I don’t think it’s close.”

Michael Sowers – PLL Waterdogs Attackman

I spoke with Mike shortly after the Waterdogs captured the 2022 PLL Championship in mid-September. Sowers conquered a sore hamstring and played lights-out in the final, earning the MVP trophy and a cigar. 

“Lacrosse is a simple game, if they slide to you, you pass it. If they don’t slide then you can turn the corner to score. You have to be able to earn respect in the PLL to get slides. Year one in the PLL was eye-opening for me in the way teams didn’t slide. So this year, I spent more time working on my strength and my speed to be able to run by athletes. The goal was to put pressure on the defense. To be able to run by ‘number one’ cover guys. That was my goal coming into 2022.”

Goal achieved.

Andy Copelan – PLL Waterdogs Head Coach

Copelan’s collegiate coaching experience at Fairfield, Marist, and Maryland was apparent in the Waterdogs underdog ascension to the title. 

“It felt like there was a home crowd for the Waterdogs in Philly, and that’s a cool thing. We are super appreciative of the relationship we have with Barstool and the impact that it can have. The Waterdogs being the third different team to win the championship in four years is a good thing for the PLL.”

Jack Rowlett – PLL Chaos Defender, UNC Graduate, and Georgetown Volunteer Assistant Coach

What’s the difference or similarities between playing in an NCAA title game versus a PLL final?

“I don’t feel like I was as jittery or as nervous as I was in college at UNC. Every time you play in a bigger and bigger game, you get more comfortable with it and it allows you to play smooth and comfortable from the get-go.”

In 2022, the Hoyas were bounced suddenly from the NCAA bracket. I asked him about the current Georgetown mindset in September.

“Its definitely a hungry group right now. It’s a team that was picked to go far and didn’t have that success. Coach Warne’s message is that we are going to focus on one moment at a time. Guys are excited to be back at it and they’ve brought an extremely high level of focus and energy to the first couple days of fall ball.”

I hope you enjoyed some of the soundbites from the Quintessential Lacrosse podcast, which is recorded weekly and can be found on every podcast streaming platform.