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.
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.