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Parity Abounds – The JuCo Report

Matt Stovall tweeted at me this week (@ConnorWilsonLAS) and simply said that NJCAA “parity abounds” and I couldn’t agree more. That’s why the video he included is our top image this week! Nassau vs Howard… and it was awesome!

As parity continues to become an increasing them at the NJCAA level, let’s look at the poll to see if anything changed from last week!

NJCAA Poll – Parity Abounds?

1) Nassau (60) 9-0 – Last week’s #1
2) Onondaga (54) 6-1 – Last week’s #2
2) Essex (48) 9-2 – Last week’s #3
4) Genesee (41) 6-2 – Last week’s #4
5) Howard (37) 8-2 – Last week’s #5
6) Union County (27) 6-3 – Last week’s #8
7) Harford (21) 5-5 – Last week’s #10
8) Anne Arundel (18) 6-5 – Last week’s #6
9) Suffolk (14) 4-3 – Last week’s #7
10) Monroe (5) 6-3 – Last week’s #9

Also receiving votes: Ocean County (4), FLCC (1)

The top 4 stayed exactly where they were last week, but Union County jumped way up, moving 2 spots to find themselves in 6th. Impressive swing! Harford moved up 3 spots from 10 to 7th, while Anne Arundel, Suffolk, and Monroe all fell. Ocean County was only one vote away from tying for 10th place and would have been a Top 10 newcomer.

Quick Game Recap – Essex Vs Monroe

If you want to know why Monroe fell so far, I would pin a lot of it on their loss to Essex. It wasn’t just a loss, it was a throttling, and Monroe simply did not have an answer for the high pressure defense and riding game of Essex. On offense, Essex was in control and scored team goals. The live web stream was pretty decent, and I enjoyed catching this one last week, even if parity was not the name of the game.

parity-abounds juco lacrosse

Full Game Video – ASA vs Monroe

Good stuff! Love it when I get to watch full NJCAA games!

Program Spotlight: Northampton

I got the chance to speak with Head Coach Joe Lodato about his program at Northampton CC. He sheds an interesting light on trying to build an NJCAA program, almost from scratch.

parity abounds

What was the process of starting a team at Northampton?

Before I applied (in April 2015) and accepted the position as Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach at Northampton CC (June 2015), they had attempted to start a team two full years ago. In the Spring of 2014, Northampton CC fielded a team that played 8 games versus NJCAA and club teams. As with many first year programs numbers were low and the coach they had hired hoped to bring in a significant amount of players for the second season.

As many coaches learn the hard way, recruiting prospective student athletes to play collegiate lacrosse is not as easy as many may think. Further more, coaching college is less about the “X’s and O’s and relies heavily on recruiting and retention. With even lower numbers prior to the Spring 2015 season, the season was cancelled and the coach was let go. As soon as I signed the contract I immediately starting to attend every high school game I could and contacted coaching connections I have made over the years to attract players.

Although we are still low on numbers, we are at a healthy enough number to complete a 10 game NJCAA season.

Where do you draw most of your players from? Where are you looking for future players? Can non-local kids live on-campus?

Although currently I draw about half my roster from local players, I do have players from different parts of Pennsylvania as well as New York. One of the reasons that I was attracted to the Northampton CC position was the fact that they were just completing brand news dorms on campus. I now can recruit nationally just like any NCAA schools, which adds to the experience students athletes receive by attending Northampton CC.

Northampton CC Defenseman Matt Bueti 27 and Ivor Corlett 2 Bethlehem PA

For our 2017 class, we have commitments from players in New Jersey, Staten Island New York, Western Maryland, and Western Pennsylvania. It’s also exciting that we are drawing interest from student-athletes from Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Washington State, and California to name a few.

What are your goals for the program?

The main goal I tell all my players, recruits, and their parents is to have their time at Northampton CC open doors to four year schools that may not have been possible after graduating from high school. Although lacrosse success may be that way of getting exposed to those schools, the biggest factor will be their academic success in the classroom.

In our first semester, the Men’s Lacrosse team had multiple students above a 3.0 GPA as well as two players being placed on the Athletic Directors Honor Roll which requires a GPA over a 3.25. With that being said, our goal for the program is to fight the stereotype that Junior College is for students who struggle academically, but instead that it can be a place for all students. My main concern is helping the student athlete have a successful future more than it is about winning championships (although I think they can go hand in hand and would like to do both!).

Who are some of your current leaders on the team?

As an essentially brand new program, we have relied on one Sophomore player, Ivor Corlette, to help our true first year collegiate players on how college lacrosse is faster and more demanding than high school lacrosse. We also have a great motivator and team leader in the cage for us in goalie Cameron James.

A “first year” player Missiah Mason on defense is also a leader for us as he is a little older than most of our fresh out of high school players. He gives them a different perspective on things bigger than lacrosse and the importance of being a student AND an athlete.

What have you learned so far this season as an NJCAA coach?

I could probably give you a whole book on what I have learned in my first year involved as a NJCAA coach. One of the most fascinating things I have learned is how many great high school players stop playing after high school. I hope in the next 10 years we can see a growth in Junior College Lacrosse as there are tons of talented players that struggle with the cost of attending many colleges that offer the sport.

Northampotn CC Attackman Alec Lloyd York PA

I have also been humbled by the struggles of starting a team comprised of players that were high school starters and also players who never played in high school. But with that said, I have learned how badly some players are craving a higher level of instruction. With the rapid growth of the sport of lacrosse, some high school players are being coached by individuals who never played themselves. Although their intent is appreciated and without them there may not be a team at their high school, there are so many subtle nuances to the sport of lacrosse that can only be learned by years of playing. That knowledge is not being passed on to many high school players that are not in “traditional hotbeds” of lacrosse.

Awesome stuff from Coach Lodato! Good luck to Northampton CC as they continue their lacrosse journey!

We will be back next week with MORE JuCo lacrosse info. It’s the JuCo Report, of course we will!