River Hawks Look To Accomplish New Goals In 2017

The UMass Lowell women’s lacrosse team has its sights set on new goals, as the third year program looks to make its biggest leap entering 2017. Head Coach Carissa Medeiros is excited to see her squad build on a positive and productive fall campaign, as the River Hawks open the new season on Saturday, February 18 at Wicked Blue Field.

“All kinds of great things have happened in the offseason. We have two new coaches who are really helping us elevate the program by bringing a ton of legit Division I experience and I think our girls are taking to it really nicely,” said Medeiros. “Our effort is the best its ever been, our energy is the best its ever been and our skill level is sharpening up faster than I expected it to. We have a solid core group of kids that are really getting it and consistently practicing at a high level and high intensity while having a lot more fun.”

When it comes to team and season goals in year three, the squad is shifting its focus to the process rather than the outcome, keeping high levels of energy and effort and playing a complete 60 minute game.

“Last year we were too focused on the wins and losses and what could have been rather than the little steps it takes to win,” explained Medeiros. “Whether or not we complete our goals is how we will be able to measure our success.”

This season, senior Kristy Robertson, juniors Courtney Barrett and Shelia Nolan, and sophomore Jane Dudley have been named team captains. Alongside the foursome, Medeiros is also seeking leadership from her 10 upperclassmen, all who played in the inaugural season for the River Hawks.

“This is the first year we have had an entire class worth of upperclassmen and they are doing a great job of taking the leadership component seriously,” said Medeiros. “That is something we have lacked in the past, not because we didn’t have leaders, but because we haven’t had a class with years behind them. This year we have kids with leadership skills along with the actual number of years experience.”

The team welcomes eight newcomers for the upcoming campaign to round out the 29-person roster. Though the program is welcoming a large young class, Coach Medeiros’ returners have led by example.

“We’ve got a good core group of kids who are really showing what it takes to be competitive on the field every single day, and that has gotten us to the point where we are now quicker than we have in years past.”

With this season seeing its first full class of upperclassmen, Coach Medeiros feels the chemistry on and off the field her first recruiting class has built will provide an edge for the underdogs.

“I am really excited about having a solid junior class where some players have been starting and playing for three years solid,” remarked Medeiros. “That is a little different than what you will see at some other established programs where you have juniors who are just getting their opportunity to start for the first time. I think having a group of girls who have played a lot of minutes for a long time will pay off for us over the course of the season.”

UMass Lowell is returning 21 letterwinners, and the majority of their 2016 starters, including junior goalkeeper Courtney Barrett, who was ranked first in the nation in ground balls (76) and ground balls per game with (4.47), and fourth in saves per game (10.41). Her 177 saves this year ranks first in the conference, while her .452 save percentage was fifth among America East goalkeepers. Barrett led the River Hawks in ground balls and caused turnovers (15), in addition to setting a program record of 17 saves against UMBC on April 2.

Junior Taylor Sokol (Hopkington, Mass.) had a major hand in the River Hawks scoring, as the attack notched team highs in points and assists with 23 and eight, respectively. Sokol tied a program record last season when she posted five points (3g, 2a) in a single contest, while being one of six players to start in all 17 games.

Sophomore midfielder Kristina Keith (Exeter, N.H.) will look to contribute to the scoring again in 2017, after her six free position goals were tied for a team best with junior attack Kaylan DiModugno (Deer Park, N.Y.). The duo tallied 15 and 10 points respectively, while Keith’s 18 draw controls were a third best for the squad.

This spring’s slate, which features 17 contests, will once again be ranked among the toughest schedules of all young programs. The River Hawks are set to square off against 2016 NCAA Tournament team Stony Brook on April 29, in addition to 2015 tournament participants Bryant (3.29) and UAlbany (4.8).

“We are always trying to get as competitive of a schedule as we can. I am a firm believer in not being able to grow unless you play the best of the best, but we also recognize the importance of having games that are closer to our competition level,” said Medeiros.

Medeiros has arranged for her squad to battle against a handful of new opponents this spring, as the unit is slated to face challengers from four different leagues during the non-conference portion of 2017.

“Overall we have a good mix of really competitive Top 30 and Top 40 programs, some perennial teams that are fighting for NCAA spots, while playing some teams that are equal to the trajectory that we are on,” she concluded.

UMass Lowell will host eight games in front of River Hawk Nation, including a three-game home stand, featuring Quinnipiac (3.22), LIU Brooklyn and Bryant.

5 Reasons Why Lacrosse is the Fastest Growing Sport in America

“It’s a virus in a good way. Once you pick up a stick, you’re with it for life.” – David Gross, Commissioner of Major League Lacrosse

 

Lacrosse is at the top of the list of fastest growing sports in America, but why? As one of the oldest sports in the country, why now has it started to expand so rapidly?

 

5 Reasons Why Lacrosse is the Fastest Growing Sport in America:

 

1. Four-Year Colleges are Starting to Catch On

A more literal #throwbackthursday this week. #TBT

A video posted by Syracuse Men's Lacrosse (@cusemlax) on

Over 70 four-year colleges started varsity lacrosse teams within the last 2 years, and 50 more are slated to start by the 2019 season.

 

2. The Feeder System is Growing

State Semi Final Game Day. #LeaveNoDoubt

A photo posted by Clayton HS Lacrosse (@clayton_lax) on

Lacrosse has been the fastest growing sport at the High School level for over a decade, but the fast five years have been huge. No other High School sport topped the 10% mark for growth in the past five years.

 

3. Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime

#WallBallWednesday with @willmanny1 at Zion National Park 🏔 #TLNnation

A video posted by The Lacrosse Network (@lacrossenetwork) on

“It’s fun to practice, just have a catch, to throw against a wall by yourself. Any body size can play. You don’t have to be 7-feet tall to play the game, we’ll find a place for you on the field. It’s perfect.” – David Gross, Commissioner of MLL

 

4. Moving West

Trophy on the line today at #PeterBartonLS #DENvMARQ set for 2:30p on Fox Sports 2 in the BIG EAST Final

A photo posted by Official Denver Mens Lacrosse (@denvermlax) on

While traditionally the sport has been popular in the northeast, the rest of the country is seeing large spikes in growth. Denver was the first Men’s Division I Lacrosse team not within the Eastern timezone, and since then many other schools in the midwest and west coast have installed varsity programs.

 

5. Growing Professionally 

Don't wish for it, work for it #motivationmonday

A photo posted by Major League Lacrosse (@majorleaguelax) on

Although the professional level is growing much less rapidly than the lower levels of lacrosse, the MLL has plans to expand to 16 teams within the next 10 years.

 

Source: http://www.boston.com/sponsored/2016/04/12/lax-attack-lacrosse-continues-explode-across-sports-landscape/QEN7fY443eumKIbUfp2FpO/story.html

Young Harris College Lacrosse Program Founder Kirk Rogers Steps Down

Young Harris College is an up and coming Division II program with a lot of potential. The Director of Athletics at Young Harris released a statement today in regards to the sudden departure of the men’s lacrosse coach Kirk Rogers:

“Over the past five years, Coach Rogers has served as the head men’s lacrosse coach and compiled an overall record of 30-29. I truly appreciate his commitment to building a strong men’s lacrosse program at YHC, his tireless work ethic, and putting YHC on the map for men’s lacrosse. I wish Kirk only the best as he has decided to embark on new career opportunities and spend more time with his family at this time in his life.”

Rogers introduced the lacrosse program to Young Harris College in 2012, and has served as the men’s lacrosse coach since its induction. Over the past four seasons the Mountain Lions saw a rise each year in total wins, from just 5 in their inaugural year to 10 this past season.

Rogers released his own statement saying, “I am excited to start a new chapter in my life and spend more time with my family and my fiancée,” said Rogers. “I will continue to follow the Young Harris lacrosse program from afar. I know what they are capable of and I expect great things.”

For now, assistant coach Forrest MacConnell will serve as interim head coach of the men’s lacrosse program.

Recruiting Insight with NECC Coach of the Year Otero

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Thomas Otero just finished his second season as Head Coach of Southern Vermont. He has led the team to two tournament appearances in as many years of the team’s existence. Coach Otero was named NECC Coach of the Year and he also coached the NECC Player of the Year this year. Coach Otero has been coaching for forty years and worked as an educator for thirty.

1. What advice do you have for players interested in DIII schools?

You have to pick a school that you want to go to for your educational choices first and then your athletic choices second. You have to research the schools that you want while gaining the most information possible by talking to current students at those universities.

2. What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

We’re a small school and mostly regional in the northeast area. We also get some people from Florida and California as well because of the lack of small, DIII schools in those areas. Personal emails also do a lot because it shows true interest. Filling out the recruit me questionnaire continues to show interest and phone calls are great as well.

3. What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

I want the athlete who is dedicated, has great work ethic, and will push themselves to be a good student, a good person, and a good lacrosse player. Sometimes that person is the raw athlete and sometimes it’s the seasoned athlete that I can teach new things in order for them to become a better athlete.

4. What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?

Number one—STICK SKILLS!! Wall ball is the best. If you can do 15 minutes of wall ball everyday then your stick skills will dramatically increase. You must be ambidextrous at the collegiate level to bring your game to the next level. The game of lacrosse is highly technical and stick skills are at the center of that.

5. How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?

Being a small school, sometimes we get pushed out into the fringe. There’s a lot of push right now to modify the recruiting profile and I think that is most likely on the horizon.

6. Are there any last pieces of advice for players and families you’d like to share?

This is a big decision for the athlete. Go and see the schools! Experience them! Look at class size and location. They need to ask themselves, “Are they going to be happy here if they don’t have lacrosse in their life?” And if the answer to that question is yes, then that school most likely is a great fit. It should not be a snap decision, it should be timely with a lot of thought process.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Thomas Otero or Southern Vermont College.

Hampton Pirates Find Gold in 1st Recruiting Class

When someone mentions Hampton University and sports never has lacrosse been a topic of conversation. Historically, Hampton has always been a basketball power house.However, that all might change soon for coach Lloyd Carter and his Pirates after taking a look at their first official recruiting class.

After looking through a few of the highlight tapes one word comes to mind when describing all of these players…ATHLETE. Not only can these guys  run like the wind, throw kids down to the floor, and switch directions before you see it coming. They also have a knack for putting the ball in the net with STYLE.

Right off the bat the Pirates grabbed two D1 transfers from St.John’s, Malcolm Flynn and Andrew Gray. They also snagged a JuCo transfer from ASA College, Kier Johnson, who has one of the most legit commitment videos I’ve ever seen.

The Pirates have also recruited two phenomenal goalies, Josh Tarver (Centerville HS,) and Kevin Mondy Jr. (Hillcrest HS), both with lightning quick hands.

As well as attackmen John Tarver (Centerville HS) and Preston Randolph (Episcopal HS, Va) who can virtually score from anywhere.

 

 

Recruiting Insight with Cedar Crest’s Head Coach Danielle Bay

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Danielle Bay just finished her first season as head coach of the
women’s lacrosse at Cedar Crest College, where she is also the Director of Compliance. Coach Bay graduated from Centenary College in 2012 and finished as the All-Time Leader in points and caused turnovers.

We sat down with Coach Bay to learn about her growing program at Cedar Crest and what makes the DIII experience so great.

What advice do you have for players interested in DIII schools?

Continue to explore your DIII options for schools. All of the schools are completely different, some are more intense, some are bigger, others smaller. Academics are the number one priority in DIII. Academics always come first at Cedar Crest, but there are still high expectations set that players are expected to reach on the field as well.

What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

Email, call, message, carrier pigeons, smoke signal, anything to let me know that you’re interested in Cedar Crest. I’m usually in the office so just call and I’m more than happy to answer all and any questions. I give my cell phone out to many of the recruits so they can contact me at any time and I’ll even text. Just show interest, that’s the most important part.

What type of players do you primarily look for and where?

Raw athletes as well as refined lacrosse players. Raw athletes can be molded into players that fit perfectly into the program. Refined players are helpful because Cedar Crest is a growing program so they can immediately help the program reach new heights and be impact players. By going to a lot of high school games during the spring, mainly within a two hour radius around Cedar Crest, it offers an advantage of becoming extremely familiar with players as they grow. I go to a ton of camps and clinics and basically every tournament. If you email us about a tournament, chances are we’re already attending.

What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?

Stick skills! Stick skills are an issue at every level of the sport, regardless of division. It is very important that players work on their stick outside of scheduled practice time because players do not get enough touches in during that time. You can never be too good at stick skills! An hour a day outside of practice does wonders to improve ones’ skills.

How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?

The accelerated recruiting landscape has not affected Cedar Crest and myself much. If girls are truly more interested in their academics then they’ll be looking at DIII anyway, which is what is wanted at Cedar Crest because academics always come first.

Are there any last pieces of advice for players and families you’d like to share?

TAKE YOUR TIME. There is no need to rush through the process. Take your time researching schools and figure out what you actually want in a school, with academics and in the actual school itself, but make sure to take the time to visit. Many people get a special feeling when they walk on a campus and instantly know where they belong, but you should still try to stay overnight to see if you truly love the atmosphere and go to classes to see if it’s a fit. Most importantly, take your time.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Danielle Bay or Cedar Crest University.

Tuft Decision for Mike Daly

When Lars Tiffany announced he was going to be the next coach for the University of Virginia the lax community threw him into the spotlight. But, now that all the hype has faded there comes a new question, who will be the man to fill his shoes?

While the light was shining bright on UVA, Brown found their man. Mike Daly, former Tufts coach, has just announced the he’ll be taking over for the bears.

“Mike Daly is a terrific coach, has a proven track record of success and is the architect of the offense that has brought Brown so much success over the last two years…He has experience recruiting quality student-athletes who excel equally on the field and in the classroom.”

-Jack Hayes, Brown Athletic Director

In his 18 seasons with Tufts, Daly has posted a record of 244-83, while winning 7 NESCAC titles and making 9 NCAA tournament appearances. And oh yeah, 3 national championships in 2010, 2014, and 2015. In 2014 he orchestrated an offense that set an NCAA record of 423 goals in a single season. AND Daly is among the top 10 active coaches for winning percentage.

Continue reading…

Ben Reeves’ Guide to Dangling Defenders

Attackman Ben Reeves of Yale men’s lacrosse was crowned Ivy League Rookie of the Year as a freshman and tallied 35 goals and 26 assists to rank 7th nationally (4.96 points per game) as a sophomore.  It’s pretty safe to say the guy knows a thing or two on beating a defender and putting the ball in the net, especially after having to match up against All-American defenseman Michael Quinn for two years.  Here’s a few of Reeves’ tips on how to carry the ball and read the defense from multiple angles. Continue reading…

Austin Henningsen About to Unleash the Beast

Team USA U-19 has just a few days to prepare for the FIL opening game against a powerful Canadian team. Luckily, for team USA, Austin Hennigsen has been preparing his whole life for this opportunity.

As a Long Island resident, Henningsen got to reap the benefits of living in a small world. Living next door to Henningsen and his grandparents was face-off guru and former Long island Lizard’s star, Matt Schomburg. From day one Schomburg preached the technique and Henningsen listened.

“I was doing pretty well in our league and it just really took off…I knew I was going to be a faceoff guy.”

-Austin Henningsen

From the first whistle of his first game as a freshman, Henningsen continued to dominate at the X for the Northport Tigers. Now, as a Maryland Terrapin he continues to dominate. In his first season Heeningsen with the Terps he won 151 of 256 faceoffs (59%) on the season. He also managed to win 19 out of 30 against North Carolina in this years championship game.

Don’t think he made a difference? Well, when Henningsen missed 4 games in the regular season the Terps face-off percentage dropped to 39%. And all of his coaches, including Tillman, speak highly of him.

“We liked that he was a little bit bigger…He’s a pretty physical kid. We knew in the conference that we play, those guys get beat up and we’d like to kind of use the same, very similar to a running back that takes a lot of hits. He’s a very durable guy. He’s got quick hands.”

-John Tillman, Maryland Head Coach

Henningsen is looking forward to the challenge he will face at the FIL world championships.

“It’s going to be fun to faceoff against him [Justin Inacio] in Canada, when it really counts…He’s a smaller dude. But he’s very scrappy-like. He likes to go out and run the ball. The past few times I’ve seen him, that’s what I’ve took from him.”