Editor’s Note: It’s come time to say farewell to Frederic Larsson from LaxAllStars.com! Fred has been one of LAS’s resident “Brit abroad” writers this year as the UK native spent the school year in the US at Cal State Long Beach in Southern California. He has been sharing his experiences in the States all year on LAS! If you missed his previous entries, check them out here!
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Since I wrote my last article here on LaxAllStars, the season has since finished. I’m writing this now having just taken my last final, concluding my year abroad here at California State University, Long Beach.
The rest of the season had its ups and downs. Since playing Cal State Fullerton, we had a tough season with several other losses to programs such as Concordia, Northern Arizona and UC San Diego. Although these were tough games it was an excellent opportunity for myself and the guys on the CSULB team to play against some tougher competition, and we learned a lot from these tough losses. We would return to training each week with our minds focused on winning the next game.
The team showed some great chemistry playing in a scrimmage against Marymount College where we had a lot of great team goals and well as some stellar individual efforts. I was even able to put up 3 points and a couple of assists this game on top of dominating the faceoff x. We won this game 23-2, although it was against a program that is very much developing newer players.
What was a challenge was the grudge match we played against UC Irvine. With both teams being at the lower half of the league it was clear that us and Irvine both wanted this win pretty badly as we’d had very comparable seasons so far. The game started out tough with big hits coming in from some of the CSULB d-poles and midfielders, leading to several stoppages in the game. However, after the first quarter had been played it felt like we had begun to dominate the game with a lot of time on offense, yet the game was very much still a tough fight. Ultimately it felt like our CSULB guys were more determined to win and some of our seniors’ experience really showed when it came down to it. We ended up winning this game 11-4. Needless to say it was a well-deserved win and everyone left the field with huge smiles on their faces, myself included!
We played Northern Arizona the week after, a game we lost due to our poor play in the third quarter, and the day after Occidental came to play us. This time we lacked numbers and suffered another loss on our home field. We also lost by 1 goal to Channel Islands, which was a game I think the majority of us thought we had a good chance of winning, but unfortunately we couldn’t quite pull it together on offense.
Despite this, we ended the season on a high note, driving up to a scrimmage against Cal State Northridge which we won 9-4! This was an amazing way to end my season of play here at CSULB and I couldn’t have played with a better bunch of guys whilst on my year abroad. I’m proud to call them all my friends and teammates!
On the Long Beach Lacrosse Club men’s team side of things we once again headed down to Camp Pendleton, this time for a rematch against Navy Gold as well as playing against Grossmont College. Both were games that were a lot of fun to play. Navy Gold gave me a bit more of a struggle at the faceoff than last time we faced each other but nevertheless we managed to win 9-4 in the end.
Grossmont College had a team filled with younger guys, compared to the mixed age of our team, and their speed and endurance reflected that. However, I was able to use my strength to my advantage and win the majority of faceoffs. Long Beach’s experience showed through and we ended up beating Grossmont College 11-6 in the end. It was definitely a memorable trip as it’s one of the few opportunities I’ll get to venture on to a military base, and was the last time I suited up as a member of the Long Beach Lacrosse Club!
My year abroad has been incredible and I played more lacrosse than I could imagine! I feel this year propelled my playing exceptionally and I’ll be taking all these skills back to England with me when I head home in a few weeks time. As for next year, I’ll be captaining the University of Leicester men’s lacrosse team, something I’m very excited to do, as well as playing for the Loughborough Lions in NEMLA Premiership 3.
I want to end my series of articles with a massive thanks to everyone who helped me and made me feel so welcome coming to play here in California. It definitely made my year abroad! Everyone was so helpful in helping me progress my game and I’ll be taking it all back and passing it on to my teammates in England. So a massive thanks to the CSULB coaching staff, LBLC and all the great friends I made whilst here!