Fall Ball 2013 Recap

Fall Ball 2013

Celebrating after Mitchell Pawlanta scored in the game against Ball State

Going into the fall was really exciting for our team!  The class of 2017 brought in 5 new recruits this year, and along with the new faces came a new team work ethic. We started out the fall by getting back into shape with 6:00 am runs.  This showed us where we were in regards to athletic ability, and also how out of shape we were. After a week  or so of hard work, we started to look like a team. For most lacrosse teams, the fall is usually a time for the freshman to get used to college play, and to bond with the team. That is exactly what happened with our recruits because  they learned very fast that they needed to step up their game before they could be ready to face a real opponent.

Unfortunately, our team had some difficult moments in our fall season. With the new direction of the team under coach Chey West, the team would be training harder than the program demanded in the years past. That being said, the time commitment would be more, and would be the same as any varsity sport here at Taylor.  Some of the returning players couldn’t provide the time and commitment, or they were studying abroad, so we lost some of our upperclassman players. This shocked the program, with the loss of so many seniors last year, and the losses this fall, the team looked a little skimpy.

Even with the losses of these veteran players, Taylor Lacrosse still found a way to survive another season. With the addition of four new walk-on’s, our team stepped up its game and we became a force to contend with. This year’s team consists mostly of freshmen, which means everyone needs to take on a new and challenging roles. The new players really stepped up their game in practices, and adapted to the game very fast. This  made our returning players strive to be better.  Guys who didn’t play much last year were starting, and some of our  D-middies transitioned to play offence.

Because of these changes, the team has been willing to learn new tactical roles. Everyone on  the team has an open mind and wants to play the game the way coach Chey wanted them to play. It was only a matter of time before the team started playing like a team.With team offence and a strong deference they wern’t  playing as individuals but as a machine, a machine that was ready for any opponent.

On September 28th, this new Taylor team had their first game against Butler. We were tired of playing each other and were ready for a real opponent. The game started at 11:00 am and Taylor played strong.  The day was long and hot and for most of the players, Butler was their first game. Everyone fought hard but with a short bench, most of the players were exhausted. It was a hard fought fight and goals from Junior Drew Kuniholm and seniors Jon Moss and Pat  Macnider really made the game close. It was a rough game but Butler pulled ahead in the fourth quarter 7-6. It was a good game and everyone learned a lot. Overall it was a good game and everyone got valuable experience.

Ball watching  .

Coach Chey watching the game from the sidelines

After the loss against Butler, the team worked really hard on making improvements. They looked ahead to a new target…Ball State. The week before the game, practices were hard and the team made lots of improvements. Tensions rose because they the team got word that they would be playing in the stadium. This was huge for the team because  they had never had that kind of exposure. The game in the stadium would be the biggest game for the program.

Saturday October 5th was a big day. Tensions were high as the boys warmed up.The game started  off slow. Almost like they had never played together before. Things didn’t click, so they got up 7 goals in the first quarter. They fought back but things were already in motion. But just like in the Butler game, the lack of sufficient numbers killed the Taylor team. Despite the effort Taylor gave, it just wasn’t good enough. Ball State came in with a victory 18-7. Over all it was another good learning experience. Everyone grew and some guys got their first goal. Sophomore A.J. Ablog got his first career goal and walk on Freshman  Mitchell Pawlanta scored his first two career goals. Over all it was a good game although it was a rough loss. The Taylor community really came and supported the team. Around 500 people showed up to cheer on the team.

That next week was filled with hard practice and a want to become better. With the final game against the alumni coming up the guys wanted to improve their game. As the week ended the guys started to understand their roles. The team was ready and excited  to face off old Taylor players. Players love the alumni game because it is

Picture of the team and the alumni after their game .

Picture of the team and the alumni after their game .

Taylor past, present and future. Families and friends come to see current students and those who have played in years past duke it out and hash each other. As the game went on the current team couldn’t handle the individual play by the talented alumni. Their  individual play dissected the he current team. They would  singled out the newer players beat them one on one. The game was fun and both sides had a blast beating eachother up.

As the fall ball came to a close the team ended with their annual  halloween practice. This is a time for the boys to relax and have fun during practice in crazy costumes and trick shots. The guys love this time of year because there is no stress and it is a fun distraction from finals coming up.

As the 2013 fall season ended the boys look forward to a strong J-term practice where the team will be working hard in preparation for their spring season. Each one of the players understands what it will take to be the best and they are willing to do what it is need to do to be victorious. They know that the team that’s in first is full of players who put the team first.

With that said here is what Taylor University men’s lacrosse 4 core values are:

Grit- The desire to be relentless both during practice and games.

Integrity- Think, live and play as we are in the presence of the Lord

Loyalty- Taking pride in an unending devotion to the program.

Humility- Recognizing our faults and striving to rid ourselves of entitlement while glorifying the Lord and honoring others.

With this in mind. The team is excited to give you a good show this 2014 season. Be sure you don’t miss a moment.

Season Wrap-Up

We wrapped up the 2013 season with a 7-4 overall record (6-4 MCLA). It was a great year that showed outstanding growth for our program and our players. It is with both sadness and joy that we say goodbye to our 2013 senior class. These men have been influential in taking Taylor Lacrosse to the next level of competition. Each and every one of our seniors made many sacrifices to play here and we would like to honor them with one last farewell.

Will “Bulldog” Gemmel was essential to our success this season. As an LSM, he led our team in ground balls and caused turnovers. Will was sound defensively and continued to improve throughout the season. He led our fast break and our coaching staff felt comfortable anytime Will was in possession of the ball. Will’s knowledge of the game was second to none and the winning mentality and grittiness he brought to each and every practice and game will be sorely missed. Will Gemmel is a competitor and it was a joy to have had the opportunity to be his coach.

Losing Rex Huffman to an ACL injury was the most difficult part of our season. Rex was a leader in his play and attitude. Rex served as the best example of what one can become if they are dedicated to the team. Coming into this season, Rex was a starting midfielder and likely would’ve been one of our best two way middies, being proficient defensively and offensively. His desire to get better even as a senior was an inspiration. It was difficult to not see him be able to play the game, but he lead our team as Christ would have, by serving. Rex was at practices and games, serving as a statistician, encourager, assistant, and an extra set of coaching eyes. Rex’s leadership on our team helped to groom our younger players into men capable of leading our team in the future. We will miss Rex dearly.

Brett Ladley came into his own this season. The coaching staff asked him to take on a role he had never done before—being an offensive producer. Brett Ladley more than rose to the occasion. This season, Brett had more points that his past three seasons combined. His outside shot, both lefty and righty, was a thing of beauty, and proved to be the difference in several games for us. Brett exemplified what we seek to develop our players into. He is a good man, offering wisdom, and encouragement to all. He played a significant role in recruiting for us and helping to promote our program. Brett Ladley is irreplaceable.

Brennan Meyer was a staple of our defense. He was proficient at handling the ball, hitting hard, transitioning, and reading the opposing teams offense. Brennan battled nagging injuries all season, but always showed up to play. His best game was against Aquinas, where he protected our goal and cleared the ball for us on countless occasions. There is no better defender on the field at handling the ball. We will miss his commitment to our team and the physicality with which he played. Brennan Meyer was a starting defender, and we can only hope that his presence set an example for the guys who will have to pick up the slack of him being gone.

Kevin Seifert had a remarkable year. He was moved to attack last year and produced for us, this year we asked him to play attack and take on a different role of running our offense. He did that and more. Kevin set the example of what it means to play attack for us. Often times attackmen are proficient scorers and feeders, Kevin has those skills, but so much more. He worked hard on the ride to get our team the ball back, he was in the scrum for every ground ball, clearing out bodies and coming away with the ball. Kevin never strayed from the coaches’ game plan. He was consistent and his value came specifically in the intangibles, the stats that are difficult to measure. Kevin sacrificed his body for his teammates every single game. His toughness and heart is something to admire.

We could not afford to not have Matt Witt on the field. Similar to Brett Ladley, his point total this season, was more than his previous three seasons  combined. Witt played midfield for us, but so much more. We would move him to attack, where he was just as comfortable, he even played Man-Down defense for us with a long pole. He excelled at ground balls, feeding and shooting. He was dynamic in the way he played, being able to score from outside, using a wicked face-dodge to break down a defense and score in tight, drawing a slide and finding the open man, and dodging to his right or left. He could not be contained, even with often drawing the opposing teams best LSM. Matt Witt put our team on his back and carried us to a 7-4 season. The sacrifice he has made to advance this program throughout his career is immeasurable. It is a sad day knowing his time here with our team is done. We will miss Matt Witt.

Johnny Rad as we call him is the reason we  have been competitive the last 4 seasons. He is the backbone of our team. Johnny Rad had a remarkable way of making all the saves, no one should be able to make. We saw him stand on his head over and over again. Goalies single handedly can steal games, Johnny Rad stole more than just games for us, he stole seasons. Johnny finishes his career as the winningest goaltender in program history. No one sacrificed their well-being for our team more than Johnny Rad. Johnny not only served our program in the goal, he was always the first to volunteer to help in any area of our program. To find another guy that has dedicated himself to our program and served our program in the way Johnny has, may be impossible. We will miss everything he has brought to this team.

We will be praying for our Seniors as they move on to the next chapters of their lives. We look forward to welcoming them back to the Alumni game, Homecoming weekend next fall.

Post Game Blog: Grand Valley State

Parker O’Leary

#21

Ali Shahsavar– Photograph by Murray Sports Photography

Freshman Attack

After a great weekend, filled with two wins against good teams, the team was looking forward to the big matchup on Saturday against last year’s national runner-up Grand Valley State.  Despite the weather causing us to shorten some practices, we had a great week of intense and focused preparation for the matchup on Saturday.  Sophomore Scott Collins helped organized a cookout held right before the game that provided some extra enthusiasm and energy for the contest.

After a great defensive stand, and multiple big saves by senior goalie John Radcliff, who played a great game overall, fellow senior Matt Witt got open on a dodge and scored a great top shelf goal to give us a 1-0 lead about 4 minutes in. Despite our great stand to start the game, Grand Valley was able to find the weaknesses in our zone and capitalized on some mental mistakes to have a 6-1 lead after the first quarter.

To start the second quarter, Grand Valley continued their attack and put up some quick goals early in the quarter.  We were having difficulty generating any offensive attack until a great transition goal by Scott Collins. It started with freshman Ali Shashavar playing great defense and forcing GV to take a poor shot resulting in a save by John, who quickly found Brennan Meyer transitioning up field.  Brennan found Scott Collins on the back pipe, who finished by faking out the goalie.  Despite the deficit, the goal gave us some momentum as we headed into the half down 8-2.

At half coach talked about keeping our energy and intensity up.  It would have been very easy for us look at the scoreboard and become discouraged at the 6 goal deficit. However, coach assured us that if we came out with intensity, ran our offense and played good breakdown defense we could make a comeback.

However, we were unable to get anything going quickly after half time and Grand Valley was able to grow their lead even more.  We had trouble doing the things coach had told us to do at half such as playing good breakdown defense and getting into our offensive system.  As GV continued to increase the lead, we weren’t able to cut a dent in it until about halfway through the third quarter.  Off of a fast break, Matt Witt found Senior Kevin Seifert who put away a beautiful top shelf goal.  The goal showed that despite the deficit, when we played to our full potential we can play with anybody.

In the fourth quarter, we seemed to play much better team defense and were able to almost completely shut down their offense.  Also, on offense we were finally able to run our offensive system and got some good clean looks off of it.

After the full 60 minutes the score was 14-3 Grand Valley. In the huddle after the game, coach told us that our motivation needs to come from within ourselves.  As Christians, we have something greater to play for, and we should not need somebody else or certain circumstances in life to get us motivated.  Instead, that motivation should come from being Children of God.

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We were blessed to have a freelance photographer (and father of GVSU Head Coach Tim Murray) from Murray Sports Photography taking pictures of our game. Feel free to have a look here.

If you haven’t already, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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Post Game Blog: DePaul and Wabash

Doug Schaefer

#23

Sophomore MidfielderIMG_1594

For our sixth and seventh games of the season, we played the DePaul Blue Demons (GRLC DII) and the Wabash Little Giants (GRLC DII) both on Saturday, April 6th.  It was a beautiful day for lacrosse, and the team came out ready and eager to get some wins.  Both games were at home, so that gave us a little extra fire as well.  Overall, the day went well for the Trojans, with us winning our first game against DePaul 8-7 and then winning our second game against Wabash 15-4.

The day was beautiful.  Weather forecast looked fantastic!  The schedule  was a unique one; there were three games that were to be played back to back to back on our field.  At 11 am, DePaul matched up against Wabash.  Coach Chey had encouraged us the day before to come out and watch that game to try and learn a little from our future opponents.  I got there a little early on accident because I thought the game started at 10 (oops), but that gave me an opportunity to closely inspect both teams that we were going to face off against.  The game got started, and Coach and I were soon joined by several of my teammates.  Wabash fought hard, but eventually a strong DePaul team took them down.  The final score was 18-1.  My team grabbed some food, and then headed to the field to warm up for our first matchup of the day: DePaul University.

Because of our team’s trend of gaining lots of momentum at the beginning of warm-ups and then losing it before the game starts, Coach Chey decided to start warm-ups later than usual to try and keep us on fire for the game.  And it worked! A half hour before our game, the Trojans warmed up, got loose, and then hit the field to start the game energized and ready to play some good, hard lacrosse.

Right before the game started, Coach Chey reminded us to stay focused and to maintain discipline.  In order to win, we had to play good, smart lacrosse.

Then the game started and we quickly were put into a rough position when DePaul put up two quick goals against us.  While we possessed the ball on offense, we just weren’t getting the shots that we wanted.  Even when we took shots, we just weren’t converting for goals.  The rest of the first half went similarly, with us trailing at halftime by two points.

At halftime, we sat down and Coach talked to us about being mentally tough and dialing in to our game.  The offense had to be run correctly, and we needed to get better looks in order for us to overcome our deficit.  Recharged and ready to go, a determined Taylor Lacrosse team hit the field on the second half. Right away, things started looking up.  We possessed and moved the ball better, we absolutely walled on defense, our clears went according to plan, and everything started clicking.  In the end of the third quarter, our team went on a run and scored several goals in a row, putting us up 7-4.

Near the end of the game, DePaul scored some quick goals and almost overcame their deficit, coming within one goal of tying our score.  But we were focused and determined, and thanks to some exceptional defensive play at the end of the fourth quarter, we pulled through with the victory.

Soon after the DePaul game and some quick stretching, we got back into things with a strong warm-up and a quick pep talk from Coach.  Basically, this game against Wabash was another opportunity to learn and grow, and even though they had lost badly to DePaul, we couldn’t afford to underestimate this team.  Everyone focused up and we got back into things with game #2.

Despite running into some trouble with consistently running our offense, we managed to play hard and fast lacrosse, winning the game 15-4.  A lot of us newer guys (this is my first year playing lacrosse here) got a lot of playing time and experience, which was extremely valuable to all of us.

At the end of the day, the reason we won both of those games wasn’t the talent that we have on our team or the fact that we played hard.  Admittedly, we have both of those things, but those are both things that most teams have on the collegiate level.  The reason we won was because we focused, maintained discipline, got way better at running the offense, and played a kind of lacrosse that our team hasn’t played before to that extent.  It was a huge indicator of how good our team has the potential to be, and how much growing we have done yet still have to do.  We got a glimpse on Saturday of where we could be; we just have to keep working to get there.

Be sure to like us on facebook or follow us on twitter to stay up to date on our schedule, current scores, and more!

Post-Game Blog: Liberty

IMG_1522Nick Sato

#9

Junior Midfielder

Our third game was against a tough Liberty Flames team (SELC D2). This was our first home game so the team was pretty excited. The week leading up to it was a little difficult because it was tough to get a good day to practice outside. Our team really wanted to get some good practice time in because we knew we had a challenge coming up in Liberty. Although we fought hard we fell 15-2 in our home opener.

Our game started at 11:30 so our morning started at 9. It was a fairly early start to the day, but I was pumped when I woke up. First, I woke up some of the other players on my floor and hung out with the ones that were already up. I could tell a couple of the other guys were as intense about this game as I was. By the time we got outside it was pretty hazy out, but that just added to the eeriness of the day. When we got to our dining commons our team was focused on the task at hand.

After getting a light breakfast we went our separate ways for about 20 minutes to get our things and meet back at the field. When we first arrived at the field the haze started to die down and the sun came out for a little and things warmed up. From what I can remember either we started warming up early or Liberty arrived a little late because it felt like we were warming up for a fairly long time. Our line drills looked crisp and our attitude and focus was in the right place from the start. As we moved into our 4 v 3 drill things only looked better. We were making the right decisions and executing very well.

After about five minutes of 4 v 3, coach realized that we were ahead of schedule and there was still around 20 minutes until the game actually started. Coach stopped the drill and told us that we were looking good and our heads were in the right place, but since we were so ahead of schedule he told us to take a couple minutes for ourselves to do whatever we needed to get ready for the game. This is where things started to change for us, some kids played catch to keep their sticks warm while other went to take a couple minutes for some quiet time and prayer. When we got back together to start the drills again things just didn’t feel the same. Our intensity had completely gone away and it felt like we started to force plays. Coach Patrone told us before the game that the word potential is one of the worst words in sports because it means that a team is not playing as well as they could. He said we are not at our full potential, but this game is a chance to turn that around.

The game started and after only a minute and a half we were down 3 goals to 0. Liberty’s first goal seemed to deflate everyone on our team; everything we had said and done the previous week was nullified by a goal. After going down 5-0 we finally put our first goal on the board. After subbing in for Will Gemmel in the offensive 1/3 of the field I found Chris Baker who shot the ball off a Liberty defender’s helmet and into the goal. Throughout the first half we played harder and harder to match the pace and skill of the Flames, but we had dug ourselves a hole and were 10-1 at the half.

The halftime talk we got consisted of Coach West commending us for not giving up and playing hard, but also consisted of him telling us that we had a chore on our hands catching up. Typically we are known for being a come from behind team, a mold we are trying to break this year. We came back out fired up for a second half battle. Throughout the 3rd quarter our defense held Liberty to bad shots and great saves by our goalie Johnny Radcliff.

The 4th quarter started to look even better as we moved the ball around and got some possession time against Liberty’s defense. About six minutes into the 4th Chris Baker ripped a shot that hit Liberty’s goalie in the cup and forced Liberty to put in their backup goalie. After moving the ball around a few times Scott Collins dodged his defender and took a good bounce shot on goal that hit the inside of the post and at first looked like a goal, but the refs called it no goal saying it had not crossed the line. Our defense really stepped up in the 2nd half holding Liberty to only five goals and a number of forced turnovers, notably by Kyle Ditthardt. A save by John Radcliff turned into a fast break opportunity and freshman Parker O’ Leary found Sam Wright open on a cut across the crease to score our 2nd goal of the game.

The thing that really struck me was even after Liberty had beaten us 15-2 they were immediately heading to the center of the field after we shook hands. We have gotten into the habit of asking the other team’s coach or captain to meet in the center of the field for a post game prayer, but we didn’t even have to ask Liberty. Something like that helps a 15-2 loss sting a little less, both teams had been playing not for their own glory, but for the glory of God. After the prayer I talked to one of Liberty’s midfielders and he explained to me how even though they beaten us pretty badly, they were still surprised by the skill and intensity we had come with. After playing a lot of games in a short amount of time they were expecting this game to be a walk in the park, but we surprised them by not giving up although we were down and the fight we came to the game with.
Our next home game is April 4th against conference rivals Indiana Tech at 6 pm. Come out and support us as we look to start conference play with a win!

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Post-Game Blog: Michigan-Dearborn

In an attempt to share our season with you, we will be writing about our game experiences on the blog. These posts will include a player telling you all about the game we recently played. Be on the lookout for more posts as the season progresses.

Brett Ladley

#22

Senior Midfielder

Our second game of the season was played against Michigan-Dearborn (CCLA division 2) in Birmingham, Michigan.  As a senior on the team, some of my fondest memories of Taylor University lacrosse have come from long weekends and road trips to away games.  This weekend was no exception, with our team winning in a comeback victory 8 to 7.

The day started off at eight thirty a.m. as we left the dining commons parking lot for our four hour drive.  After our Subway pit stop, we made our way to the playing field around one o-clock.  For most of this year, we have experienced poor weather conditions, forcing us to practice inside and postpone two games.  On Saturday, the weather was a beautiful 45 degrees and an absolutely perfect day for lacrosse.

Michigan-Dearborn struck first within the first five minutes of play.  Our team was sluggish and Michigan-Dearborn was out hustling us to ground balls and executing well on the field.  Another goal was scored by Michigan-Dearborn, and I could feel our confidence drop slightly.  On top of our slow start, senior and starter Rex Huffman injured his knee during a ground ball.  As a starting midfielder, Rex plays a large role in our offense and is a leader on our team.  For him to be out of the game was a difficult thing for us to grasp.  It put a large burden on our second line of midfielders to fill Rex’s role.

On top of our disappointing start, I don’t think we were ready for a much improved Michigan-Dearborn team.  Although we attempt to go into every game with a mentality to play our hardest, we failed to execute what we had been practicing for so many hours.  Early on in the second quarter, the Trojans made it on the board with a great goal by junior attackman Sam Wright.   However, Dearborn scored two more goals to finish the first quarter up 4-1.  The second quarter was no better, with Dearborn outscoring the Trojans two goals to one.

Looking back over the first half of play, there is no single part of our play that could be blamed for such a large deficit.  Both our offense and defense were making key mistakes.  During our halftime meeting, Coach West urged us to think over how much work we had put into the sport over the year.  There was little praise during the halftime meeting, and our coaches challenged each one of us to stop looking for others to lead the team.  There were no more excuses, and after some defensive adjustments, we began the second half of play down 6-2.

Although Dearborn scored the first goal of the half, we were ready to shut them out for the rest of the game.  Immediately, I could feel a difference in our play.  Thanks to excellent wing play by senior LSM Will Gemmel, we controlled the faceoffs and possessions as I went 11-16 at the faceoff X.  A key turning point in the game occurred when freshman attackman Parker O’Leary scored his first career goal after a great split-dodge from goal line extended.  Parker’s goal sparked a fire in our team that we had not had all game.  Another goal from senior attackman Chris Baker brought the Trojans to within three with a score of 7-4.

Starting the fourth quarter down by three is not a position that our team wanted to be in.  Coach West and Coach Patrone challenged us to remember our preparation and urged us to execute our game plan for the next fifteen minutes.  I believe that a switch was turned in our team when we came out onto the field for the last quarter.  The Trojans barely let Dearborn touch the ball, as we possessed for 85% of the last quarter.  With goals from Sam Wright and senior midfielder Matt Witt, the game was within one with six minutes to play.  After possessing the ball from the faceoff and taking good shots on offense, Chris Baker tied the game with a beautiful top shelf shot against the goalies strong side.

The game was tied but we knew that it was not over.  I could Dearborn players deflate as our sideline celebrated Chris Baker’s goal.  We were not going to lose that game and with two minutes left, Sam Wright found junior midfielder Nick Sato open with the game winning shot.  Nick’s first goal of the season had given us the lead.  With two minutes left, we burned the clock and made a key defensive play to win game with a comeback victory.

Looking back on the game, I have some key thoughts and beliefs about our victory on Saturday.  First, I would argue that some of the most valuable players on a team are those who come off of the bench.  You can have a select few of starters who lead the team in points, but without depth on a team, you cannot win a championship.  After Rex Huffman was injured in the first quarter of play, Nick Sato was asked to fill a role that he had not done before.  Also, Parker O’Leary scored his first career goal after coming off of the sideline.  These are the players who give our team an advantage, and I am so excited to be a part of a team that is diversified.

Also, I would argue that our team has not even discovered our full potential.  We have bits and pieces of excellence, but we are aware that if we play how we did in the fourth quarter against Dearborn all game, we would be on a different level.  During our first two games, we have had our ups and downs and I believe that our team will steady out and begin to play a full four quarters of play soon enough.

All in all, our victory against Dearborn was bittersweet.  We had won the game in an exciting fashion and it may have been our best comeback game during my time at Taylor.  However, we are unaware of the condition of Rex’s injury, and it’s disappointing to lose such a valuable member of our team to an injury this early in the season.  We will have updates regarding Rex’s condition over the next weeks to come.

Our next game is this coming Saturday March, 16th against Liberty University.  The game is at home, and we would love to have you there to cheer us on against the Liberty Flames!

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Post-Game Blog: Butler

In an attempt to share our season with you, we will be writing about our game experiences on the blog. These posts will include a player telling you all about the game we recently played. Be on the lookout for more posts as the season progresses.

Rex Huffman

#32

Senior Midfielder

February 27th, a Wednesday night Taylor’s Lacrosse program gathered for a practice frustrated and disappointed. Earlier that day Wheaton had to cancel our opening game due to weather in the Chicago area. The team had been looking forward to opening the season up that Friday for what seemed like ages. Taylor’s coaches had been using a game simulation in the previous practices to prepare the team for this opening game. As Friday rolled around Coach Chey West asked the seniors to put the rest of the team through a vigorous work out to prepare for the new opening game against Butler. During this practice the players went through a difficult workout including multiple aerobic stations and sprint drills. With only one practice left, Monday night the Trojans walked through defensive and offensive formations to prepare for the new opening game against Butler.

Nick Sato’s parents graciously opened up their house in Indianapolis the day of the game providing a pregame meal and a place to spend time bonding together for the team. As Tuesday progressed snow began accumulating in the area. After arriving to the field we were greeted with an inch of snow on the ground. Proving their devotion to the sport Taylor and Butler agreed to begin the game as the snow continued to fall.

From the get go Taylor jumped on the scoreboard to lead 2-0. It was a good start for the Trojans. As the first quarter came to the end Taylor had a 3-1 lead over the Butler Bulldogs. During the second quarter we began to fall away from what Coach West and Coach Dan Patrone had been drilling into our heads all season. The offense was not maintaining the ball and forcing shots that were easily saved by Butlers goalkeeper Zach Davidoff. We also had some mental breakdowns leading to fast break goals for Butler. Defensively we began chasing the ball instead of breaking down and containing our man. Butler was able to capitalize on these mistakes getting the ball in close on Trojan goalie John Radcliff putting in 4 goals to take the lead 5-4 at half. During half time Coach West stressed to us the importance of what we had been practicing and that we were not playing our game.

Through out the third quarter we fought the uphill battle of being down one goal. Continuing to not execute and break down on defense we found ourselves down 8-7 leading into the fourth quarter. The Trojan players have always known we are not a second half team and the fourth quarter tends to be our worst of most games. Thinking back on previous years and losing to Butler we were determined to not let that happen again. We came out of our huddle ready to play our game and not make the same mental mistakes we had been falling into all game. Defensively we began to break down as we approached our man. Containing the Butler offense was key to our success. Preventing goal scoring opportunities allowed the Taylor offense more time of position and transferred into a couple fast break opportunities. The last half of the fourth quarter the Trojans began to play their game again. Matt Witt, Sam Wright and Scott Collins put in a combined 4 goals to end the game with a Trojan victory 12-9.

All together it was nice to take a win our first game of the season. Brett Ladley played an all-around great game contributing 2 goals and 5 assists to the out come. Chad Mitchell and Will Gemmel contributed a strong defensive effort with a combined 13 ground balls and numerous fast breaks. This year we have been looking to play faster lacrosse scoring more fast break goals and upping our time on attack. Offensively we broke down in many places but showed that we are on our way to changing the way we play lacrosse. Scott Collins forced a turnover by the Butler goalie leading to a Trojan goal sparking the team early in the first half. In the first and fourth quarter we played soundly in our man to man defense: containing the ball, sliding when necessary, and good communication only allowed Butler to score once in each of those quarters.

As we approach our next game versus Northwood, Friday March 8, we plan to come mentally prepared to play a full game of solid lacrosse. To reach some of the goals set earlier in the year by the team, we must execute defensively, allowing John Radcliff to make some easy saves from poor shots. We are looking to turn John’s saves into fast break opportunities. Offensively we need to come prepared to play faster than we did in the snow at Butler. Our midfielders are looking to make the easy pass getting the ball around the defense forcing them to work hard to stay in position allowing our attack the opportunity to find passing lanes to get an open shot.

During the year the coaches have tried to remove any crutches from our game that have been holding us back from reaching the next level. We want to take our game from Butler and turn it into a learning experience. Yes it was our first game and it was snowing but we need to not allow ourselves to accept our play for what it was. We have a lot more potential than we showed. We believe that this year is going to be a special one for the Taylor program and we want to prove that to the rest of the nation and we failed to do that. We want to take our next opportunity against Northwood and prove that we are an elite team in the MCLA.

The Season is Upon Us

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You’ve met the entire team.

You’ve met the coaching staff.

You’ve seen our new gear.

You’ve checked out our schedule.

You’ve encouraged us.

You’ve motivated us.

And now the time has come.

Tomorrow we begin our season against Butler.

Be sure to follow the game by checking out our twitter page.

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Meet the Team: #32 Rex Huffman

#32 RexSo here’s the deal, we ran out of days to get all our players in, no big deal, we’ve got it covered.

Name: Rex Huffman

Number: 32

Height: 5’4″

Weight: 163

Position: Midfield

Year: Senior

Hometown: Madison, Indiana

High School: Madison Consolidated High School

Major: Graphic Design

Favorite Movie: Braveheart

Favorite Food: Bacon

Dream Job: Work with Red Bull

Dinner with a Famous Person: Rich Froning

Favorite Sport (other than lax): Corn Hole

Favorite Bible Verse: Galations 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Countdown to the Season: #3 Sam Wright

#3 WrightTo prepare for our season opener on Friday, March 1st we are having a countdown by jersey number. It’s a great way to get to know the guys and prepare for the 2013 season!

Name: Sam Wright

Number: 3

Height: 5’11″

Weight: 175

Position: Midfield

Year: Junior

Hometown: Fort Wayne, Indiana

High School: Blackhawk Christian High School

Major: Sport Management

Team Leadership: President

Favorite Movie: Red Dawn (1984)

Favorite Food: Fried pumpkin blossoms

Dream Job: Small Business Owner or High School Athletic Director

Dinner with a Famous Person: Les Stroud (host of Survivorman)

Favorite Sport (other than lax): Soccer or Hockey

Favorite Bible Verse: Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

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