By Nicholas Cousins
Lacrosse at SUNY Plattsburgh has been competitive and an overall learning experience for the players and coaches during their respective non-conference games played so far this season. The women’s team currently holds a record of 3-2 and the men’s team stands at 2-4.
Both teams got off to hot starts, winning two of its first three games. The teams know that the season will be filled with ups and downs, but in these games it is important to hold their heads high and continue to learn from one another’s experiences on the field and to find new ways to be aggressive. The games the teams have played so far serve to prepare the teams for its upcoming conference matchups.
Coming off an 11-9 win thanks to a late comeback last week in their first home game of the season against SUNY Canton, Emma McLaughlin said the team played very well working together and came together at the right time to seal the victory. McLaughlin also stated the team must continue to maximize their effort and work as a team on attack in order to keep being successful.
After scoring a team high five goals in the epic victory, Lindsay Guzzetta said the win against Canton was great for the team’s confidence, but there is always room to improve on the little aspects of the game that will tighten their performances overall.
The women’s team took a tough 5-18 loss this week to Union College. Guzzetta set a program career record in goals scored with 59 and draw controls with 89 in the loss to Union.
Head Coach Kelly Wall spoke briefly about how important mental toughness is when it comes to these games and how important it is to be able to work through adversity in game situations, stating that the loss to Union was “a bit frustrating, but every game is a learning curve”.
Wall also said physicality will be a focal point for the team heading into their conference season, admitting that Union is a tough team and that is why they were scheduled for a non conference matchup to show the team the level of play that they are preparing for.
The men’s team has hit a skid as of late, losing its last four games, including a tough 4-16 loss to Hartwick College. However, behind Head Coach Darry Thornton, the team is never lacking in confidence and dedication.
Logan Jones, who scored the team’s first goal, said although this was a tough loss, the team is going to keep the same mindset every game win or lose and continue to practice hard and not panic.
Jones said the offense from their new coach is going to take some time, but he believes everything will come together. John Eiseman, his teammate, said the team came out hot and has to do a better job not slowing down and making sure to apply that extra ten percent of effort and execution on both sides of the field.
Eiseman also said it is important to keep the confidence level up. He is looking forward to the conference games and continuing to battle.
Thornton said getting adjusted and acquainted at Plattsburgh has been great and the support from other coaches and staff has been phenomenal in shaping him to do his job and be a mentor to players. Having head coaching jobs at other colleges such as Marian University in Wisconsin and St. Mary’s College in Newburgh, New York, Thornton says the experience he obtained under his belt helped in his role at Plattsburgh. Overall, Thornton said this is the first institution where he truly sees himself lasting a while.
He wants to make sure he leaves his thumbprint here as he has at his other career stops. Jones said the team chemistry has been much better with the coaching change and Thornton has relied on knowledge of the game of lacrosse offensively and defensively, making an immediate impact for everyone on the field. Jones says their goal clears have been better in order to get their offense going and that Thornton makes sure that there are multiples at every position from top to bottom.
Thornton said this rough stretch begins with him. The team, despite the record, has done an amazing job buying into the bigger picture of the season and understanding that everything is going to take time, including learning what it takes to consistently play at a high level against tough competition. Thornton believes that the team is better than its record and he has to do a better job in preparing, keeping the momentum throughout the game, and adjustments.
Thornton calls his playstyle “60 minutes of hell.” Thornton said he wants to build that type of relentless energy on the team in order to wear teams down and knows it is a work in progress. At the end of the day, Thornton wants the team to keep steadily improving and for everyone to know that it is not at their full potential. Losses such as the one to Hartwick are to be used as a springboard for growth heading into the New Paltz game next week. It is not about how you start, but how you finish.
As a former lacrosse player, Thornton said he doesn’t want to relive his experiences through his players and having fun is most important. Thornton also emphasized that the score doesn’t matter in these games, but rather it is the people on the sidelines and family that is most important.
“You go down a highway in life and you want to look out the front windshield. Your past does not define you so you don’t want to look out the rear view mirror,” Thornton said. “Life ain’t perfect, sometimes you have to get off that offramp and deal with some personal stuff or some stuff that’s really bothering you. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, you have to deal with life itself, but when you get back on that highway in life you keep moving forward”.
Both Cardinals teams are going to continue to stay ready, be confident and fight for each other as the season continues to unfold.