Monthly Archives: October 2008

2008 Hawaii Invitational Lacrosse Recap


http://blogs.insidelacrosse.com/2008/10/30/hawaii-invitational-top-7-moments/ 

Back safe and sound on the mainland — nice to come back to cold, rainy, miserable weather. Word of advice to anyone leaving Hawaii to come back to cold, rainy, miserable weather: wear more than a sleeveless shirt, shorts and sandals to the airport.

Can’t say enough about all that Wimmer Solutions CEO Matt Sauri and his whole group did for the IL crew during our stay. James Schaffer got some amazing pictures and Joe Sweeney got some awesome video.

Look for a nice spread in the January issue that will give you an inside look at the trip, and for a full spate of videos (from Joe as well as Jack Reid, Brett Queener, Anthony Kelly, Colin Doyle and who knows who else got hold of our extra cameras during the long weekend). Hoping to get all those videos up next week, once Joe gets through all the editing (and recovers from celebrating the Phillies’ win).

And while the product on the field was arguably more impressive than the MLL All-Star Game, a large portion of the intrigue of the Hawaii Invitational is the lifestyle and the down time these guys get to enjoy while they’re there. Pretty ridiculous.

As something of a summary of the trip, I figured I’d compile a Top 7 Moments…

Brett Queener in Action
There were many to choose from (including a nice stick swap with Justin Smith, cooked up while at the pool that afternoon, that Queener failed to put on goal), the best was a coast-to-coast run that ended in a backbreaker. Queener flipped his stick over a middie before half-field, caught it and kept going, then spun through three defensemen and scored. Almost as impressive as when he got horizontal and launched himself into the mud pit in the goal after Wimmer Solutions won the Elite title 10-8 on Sunday. (Since I’ll hear about it if I don’t mention it, Smitty scored on a pretty sweet backbreaker as well.)

Fastbreak Lacrosse
The Elite Division Final was two 25-minute running-time halves, so there was no wasted time and both teams’ longsticks pushed upfield every chance they got. It led to some turnovers, but it was refreshing watching guys like Brodie Merrill, Eric Martin and Crease Monkey Matt Striebel fly around unfettered. Heaped drama on every possession, and still got 18 combined goals too.

Anthony Kelly on a Scooter
I’m seriously surprised the scooter rental place didn’t see a 6-4, 245-pound gorilla coming and shut the door and turn out the lights. A lot of guys got these since they were so cheap and made it so easy to get around the island. The three hours we spent cruising around Oahu, driving down the coast and through the mountains was absolutely breathtaking. A-Train got some great footage (risking life and limb in the process) of some of their adventures.

Kids’ Reactions
Kyle Harrison
and Casey Powell were among the many players that gave their equipment to some local kids after the final, and it was kinda like when the Rolexes fall out of the piñatas in Billy Madison. Kids were literally like “For me? Are you sure?” Similar with the Japanese players, who got autographs and pictures taken with the pro guys before and after scrimmaging Wimmer and the Crease Monkeys on Friday.

Great to see Crease Monkeys co-coach John Grant Jr., (along with Tom Ryan) make the trip as well — given that his playing career recently was put on a one-year hiatus.

Humboldt State Men’s Lacrosse Home Tournament Recap


“The new guys really stepped up and provided a solid defensive effort against Santa Cruz – and our goalie played stellar to keep us in the game until the end.”

http://www.thejackonline.org/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticlePrinterFriendly&uStory_id=fa34f42f-c271-4562-bde4-d1153d97f851 

At their first-ever home tournament, The HSU Men’s Lacrosse Club won three games out of four in the Redwood Bowl Saturday and Sunday. The ‘Jacks walked away with 2nd place overall, just four points behind Santa Cruz for the championship title.

The ‘Jacks started undefeated Saturday against Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, and San Jose State. The team’s progress – three wins and zero losses – gave them an open spot to compete against Santa Cruz in Sunday’s championship game.

Midfielder Brooks Gibson was glad to see both seasoned players and new team members playing cohesively on the field.

“A lot of the new guys were very impressive,” Gibson said.

“It’s good that the new players have caught on so quick.”

Six players on the roster had no experience in Lacrosse prior to this year, but they trained for eight weeks in preparation for the tournament.

After the first day of competition, six of the ‘Jacks’ best shooters were sidelined with injuries.

On Sunday, Santa Cruz took the lead early in the faceoff and raised the score 3-1 by halftime. In the second half, both teams raced back and forth across the field to gain possession of the ball. After the ‘Jacks scored their second goal, tensions mounted on the field.

The HSU defense played aggressively, but it wasn’t enough to slow down their opponents. Santa Cruz scored three more times, while the ‘Jacks only put one more goal in the net before the clock ran out. The end score, 7-3, awarded Santa Cruz the championship.

Coach Silvaggio was impressed with his team’s overall performance. “The new guys really stepped up and provided a solid defensive effort against Santa Cruz – and our goalie played stellar to keep us in the game until the end.”

Despite losing to Santa Cruz, the players left the tournament in high spirits with more than one reason to celebrate.

In the past, the ‘Jacks struggled against the very same teams they conquered on Saturday’s winning streak.

Goalie Sam Seidenberg, a film junior, says for years they had trouble recruiting and committing the players to the sport. Before Coach Silvaggio came to organize the team in spring of this year, the ‘Jacks repeatedly lost against universities with larger lineups.

“It was tough because we’d go to tournaments with 10 or 11 players. It was hard to actually win games,” says Seidenberg.

“Before, we got blown out by Southern Oregon and San Jose state. They killed us. So coming out here and playing those teams again was really cool.”

The Lacrosse team will continue to train for the rest of the year in preparation for games in the Spring. After several away games, a match on the home field is slated for April 9 against Dominican University.

In addition to his team’s continued progress, Coach Silvaggio wants to raise awareness of the full range of this sport within the community. Also on the agenda is forming a Women’s Lacrosse Club. With two fully functioning lacrosse teams on campus, Coach Silvaggio says it will promote the sport.

“My hope for the future is that the team will help to create a culture of lacrosse on the Northcoast; something that presently does not exist,” he says.

“It’s the full development of the sport – not just competitively, but culturally.”

Lacrosse Injuries: National ImPACT Concussion Management Program


“…youths heal more quickly than adults in every area but damage to the brain. And then it takes them seven times longer…” 

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/columnists/ksherrington/stories/102408dnsposherringtoncol.338176d.html

Locker helps administer the local version of the national ImPACT Concussion Management Program, which is also offered through the Ben Hogan Sports Therapy Institute at Harris Methodist in Fort Worth.

The process is not only cheap, it’s painless. Kids answer on-line questions to establish a baseline result. Once a concussion is suspected, they take the 40-minute test again.

If the results are significantly different, athletes are held out of competition until the tests return to normal.

Maybe you need to understand what constitutes a concussion. You don’t have to get knocked out. You might just “get your bell rung.”

A headache could be a sign. Dizziness. Nausea. Blurred vision. Slurred speech. A dozen symptoms in all.

If symptoms worsen, chances are you need to see a doctor.

Here’s why it’s important: Concussions can cause serious long-term damage to anyone, but kids are particularly susceptible.

Locker says youths heal more quickly than adults in every area but damage to the brain. And then it takes them seven times longer.

The difference helps explain why young people are far more susceptible to something called second impact syndrome, a rare but fatal condition that occurs when victims suffer at least two relatively minor concussions in a short time span.

Among those Locker has benched was a Midlothian football player who has committed to Tennessee. The kid wasn’t happy about it, either.

After a week off, his perspective changed.

“I feel a lot better,” he told Locker.

Hayden Wilson figured something was wrong during a game against Fort Worth All Saints on Sept. 19. A 5-6, 145-pound freshman playing on the Episcopal School of Dallas varsity, Hayden, son of Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Wade Wilson, collided with another player in the first quarter.

By halftime, Hayden had a headache. The glare of the stadium lights bothered him, too.

Fortunately, ESD’s athletic trainer recognized the symptoms and made the proper request.

“Can I have your helmet?”

Wilson didn’t get it back until last week.

In the old days, he might have returned to practice after a few days. But the discrepancy between his tests and his baseline results indicated he wasn’t ready.

“I’m really glad that our school has come on board with this,” said Wilson’s mother, Kathy Troutt. “So many kids want to go right back in, and Hayden was no exception.

“I have to tell him, ‘This is your head we’re talking about.’ ”

Locker has tested 2,400 kids representing 20 clubs and schools. He hopes to reach 4,000 by year’s end.

Organizations can purchase 300 tests for $500. Individuals can buy them for $10.

And it’s not just for football players, either. Frankly, no athlete is immune. A recent study by Major League Baseball showed foul tips off a catcher’s mask can cause concussions.

Don’t get me wrong about sports participation. Both my sons play football and baseball. Watching them gives me as much pleasure as they get from it. But I recognize the possibilities, too.

In 1997, I wrote about a distance runner from Round Rock, Texas, who took up Golden Gloves boxing. In his fourth fight and second in as many days, he collapsed after a shot to his left temple.

His father taped the fight. I watched the video. I saw Dylan Baker crumble to the canvas.

“Fell over dead,” is how his father put it.

The coroner ruled second impact syndrome. The reason their oldest son died was some comfort to his parents when I explained it to them, but not nearly enough.

Now that you know what it means, maybe you understand the importance of Locker’s mission. So far this year, he’s held 16 athletes out of action. Sixteen kids no longer in danger. Here’s hoping he benches a bunch more.

 

CONCUSSION SYMPTOMS

• Headache (especially increasing in intensity*)

• Nausea and vomiting*

• Difference in pupil size from right to left eye or dilated pupils*

• Mental confusion/behavior changes

• Dizziness

• Memory loss

• Ringing in ears

• Changes in gait or balance

• Blurry or double vision*

• Slurred speech*

• Noticeable changes in consciousness (difficulty awakening or losing consciousness suddenly)*

• Seizure activity*

• Decreased or irregular pulse or respiration*

*Seek medical attention at the nearest emergency department

Western Collegiate Lacrosse League 2009 Pre-Season Rankings


WCLL Pre-Season Poll
Division 1
1. Sonoma State (9) 90
2. Cal Poly, SLO 67
3. Chico State 63
3. Stanford 63
5. Santa Clara 62
6. California 55
7. UC Davis 41
8. Nevada 26
9. San Jose State 18

Division 2

1. UC Santa Cruz (3) 15
2. St. Mary’s (1) 12
3. Pacific 7
4. UC Merced 6

 

 

 

UC Berkeley Men’s Lacrosse Fall 2008 Schedule


FALL 2008 SCHEDULE
Time Date  Opponent 
1PM Nov1 Stanford @ NDNU
3PM Nov 1 @ NDNU
TDC Nov 15 St. Mary’s Tournament
7PM Dec 5 Alumni Tea/Recruit Game
Underhill Field

 

2008 Results
Date Opponent
Score
W/L
Jan 26 UC Davis 4-3 W
Feb 01 UCSB 7-9 L
Feb 09 Chico State 8-10 L
Feb 16 Washington 15-10 W
Feb 17 UCLA 13-5 W
Feb 29 @ Santa Clara* 6-12 L
Mar 02 UCSD 14-10 W
Mar 15 @ Cal Poly * 9-10 L
Mar 18 @ Dominican  11-4 W
Mar 22 @ University of Florida  9-12 L
Mar 23 @ Southern Florida 20-6 W
Mar 25 @ Central Florida  11-8 W
Apr 05 @ St. Mary’s* 15-8 W
Apr 12 Oregon 9-8 W
Apr 18 Stanford* 9-8 W
Apr 19 Doug Sciutto Golf Tournament     
Apr 20 @ Sonoma State 3-9 L
Apr 26 WCLL Quarterfinals 

University of Nevada Men’s Lacrosse 2009 Schedule


 

The Pack has finalized its 2009 spring schedule with numerous home games, most notably in-state rivals UNLV. Nevada also takes on many annual powerhouses in the WCLL such as Sonoma State and Cal Poly. In addition Nevada is opening its Fall season October 11th in Chico for their annual fall tournament, and end their fall season in Moraga California at St.Mary’s tournament on November 11th. We still hope that any players interested in playing will come out to a practice or contact the coaching staff through the website.

http://www.nevadalax.com/web/

 

 

2009 Game Schedule

#

Date

Time

Home/ Away

Opponent

Location

Conference

Game Score

1

Sat, Feb 7

2pm

Away

Stanford

Stanford, CA

WCLL

 

2

Sat, Feb 21

2pm

Away

UC Davis

Davis, CA

WCLL

 

3

Fri, Feb 27

8pm

Home

Southern Oregon

Reno, NV

PNCLL-2

 

4

Sun, Mar 1

11am

Home

UC Merced

Reno, NV

WCLL-2

 

5

Sat, Mar 7

1pm

Away

St. Mary’s College

Moraga, CA

WCLL-2

 

6

Sat, Mar 21

2pm

Away

San Jose State

San Jose, CA

WCLL

 
7 Sun, Mar 22 12pm Away Dominican San Francisco, CA Division II  

8

Fri, Mar 27

8pm

Home

Chico State

Reno, NV

WCLL

 

9

Sun, Mar 29

2pm

Home

Sonoma State

Reno, NV

WCLL

 

10

Fri, Apr 3

8pm

Home

UNLV

Reno, NV

 

 

11

Sun, Apr 5

11am

Home

Portland State

Reno, NV

PNCLL

 

12

Sat, Apr 11

2pm

Away

California

Berkeley, CA

WCLL

 

13

Sun, Apr 19

12am

Home

Cal Poly

Reno, NV

WCLL

 

14

Sat, Apr 25

6pm

Home

Santa Clara

Reno, NV

WCLL

 

 

UCSB Women’s Lacrosse Goes 2-1 In OC Play-Day in Newport Coast, CA


http://ucsbwlax.ialax.com/index.php?section=news&story=78

Newport Coast, CA – The UCSB Fall Ball Squad won two and lost one at the inaugural OC Play-Day at Newport Ridge Park. Family Weekend at UCSB and the extraction

of two wisdom teeth for one player left the Gauchos short-handed on experience with five ‘A’ Team candidates not traveling. Their absence, coupled with seven Gauchos being abroad for the Fall, opened up playing time for a mix of eager UCSB players who made the short drive to Orange County to play some lacrosse. Two returning ‘A’ Team starters, Ashley Antoon-Algieri and Katie Moran, made the trip. The rest of the Gauchos were out to prove themselves and have fun doing it.The play-day consisted of three 40 minute scrimmages for each of the four teams participating. The day started for four Gauchos when they were borrowed by a short-handed Tricheck team for the first game of the day. The request came almost as UCSB players were climbing out of their vans to get ready to warm up for the game afterward. The four Gauchos played all 40 minutes and contributed to a Tricheck win over Team OC. Then the tournament started for real for UCSB as they played the first game on their schedule. The Gauchos fielded a frosh/soph team for the UC Irvine scrimmage, including two rookies starting and playing in their first lacrosse game. The fresh faces were quick to set the pace against UC Irvine in a 10-3 success. In the first 20 minute half the Gauchos led 5-1 at half-time.

“It was nice to see the rookies experience success together,” said head coach Paul Ramsey. “It’s a strong class so that success wasn’t unexpected but for them to experience it was good.”

 


The pace quickened when a group made up of UCSB veterans and some of the rookies took the field to face Team OC. The Gauchos led 8-4 at half-time with some nice transition play and some assisted goals. Team OC is a high school select team representing the best of Orange County. It trains together throughout the year except during the C.I.F. season and it includes at least three known NCAA Division One early signees. A fired up Team OC came out strong in the second half at the same time the Gauchos started subbing liberally. Team OC
pulled to within striking distance

but UCSB held on for a 12-11 win.”Some would say going into that situation at less than full strength is bad scheduling,” commented Ramsey. “However, I think missing multiple starters and still being competitive playing with a whole bunch of new faces is a good thing.”
Ramsey thought Melissa Humphreys (Coronado / UC Berkeley ) gave Team OC an advantage on the draw while Anna Maria Carabini (St. Margaret’s / St. Mary’s ) controlled play and possession on the attacking end. Francie Crowell (Los Alamitos / Notre Dame ) kept working her way inside on dodges to both score goals and assist while she was on the move.

He says they weren’t the only three on the field who can play ball either. “There were a bunch of other good players on that team, too, in addition to the three we know have signed early,” said Ramsey.

 

 
 

At the end of the day UCSB faced a Tricheck team the Gauchos had beaten 18-11 last week but this time around Tricheck picked up the previously mentioned Carabini, Crowell and Humphreys to supplement their roster. UCSB seemed in control for most of the first stanza but then the Los Angeles based post-collegiate team and ringers surged for three unanswered goals to close the first half ahead 6-5. Play was mostly even after the intermission with the two teams just about trading goals but Tricheck was still ahead by that one goal with time running out. A UCSB goal tied it at 8-8 but then in the closing moments Tricheck put in another two goals for the 10-8 final.Ramsey commented, “that one was tough because we turned the ball over three or four times in a row on offense to close out the first half and it gave them life going into half-time.”

Tricheck capitalized on those UCSB turnovers with the three unanswered goals to take that 6-5 lead.

 
 

 

“When it got down to less than two minutes in the first half one or two attempts at good looks on offense by us instead of forcing it like we did and we could have gone into half-time up 5-3 or maybe 6-3,” Ramsey concluded.The two minutes at the end of the first half of this one notwithstanding, though, the Gauchos had a good outing in the OC.

 
 

 

Lacrosse Box Score (Final)
2009 Women’s Lacrosse
2008 Fall Ball Squad vs UC Irvine (Oct 26, 2008 at Newport Coast, CA)

 

SCORE BY PERIOD                 1  2  Tot
—————————————–
2008 Fall Ball Squad……….  5  5 – 10
UC Irvine…………………        1  2 –  3

Lacrosse Box Score (Final)
2009 Women’s Lacrosse
2008 Fall Ball Squad vs Team OC (Oct 26, 2008 at Newport Coast, CA)

 

SCORE BY PERIOD                 1  2  Tot
—————————————–
2008 Fall Ball Squad……….  8  4 – 12
Team OC…………………..      4  7 – 11
 

 

University of Denver Men’s Lacrosse Announces 2009 Captains and Schedule


 

 

University of Denver men’s lacrosse head coach Jamie Munro announced the 2009 team captains for the season.  Seniors Joey Murray (Denver, Colo.), Austin Konkel (Aurora, Colo.) and Kyle Widerstedt (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) were selected along with junior Ben Wahler (Denver, Colo.) as team captains for the Pioneers’ squad that last year posted one of the most successful seasons in program history. 

Date Opponent Location Time (MT)    
  Sat, Feb 07  Air Force (Exhibition) TBA   1:30 p.m.    
  Sat, Feb 14  North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C.   9:00 a.m.    
  Sat, Feb 21  Albany at Albany, N.Y.   TBA    
  Sat, Feb 28  Sacred Heart Denver, Colo.   1:30 p.m.    
  Fri, Mar 06  Penn at University Park, Pa.   11:00 a.m.    
  Sun, Mar 08  Brown at Providence, R.I.   9:00 a.m.    
  Tue, Mar 17  Bucknell at Lewisburg, Pa.   TBA    
  Sat, Mar 21  Stonybrook Denver, Colo.   TBA    
  Tue, Mar 24  Drexel Denver, Colo.   7:30p.m.    
  Sun, Mar 29  Bellarmine * at Louisville, Ky.   9:00 a.m.    
  Sat, Apr 04  Quinnipiac * at Hamden, Conn.   TBA    
  Sat, Apr 11  Notre Dame * Denver, Colo.   TBA    
  Fri, Apr 17  University of Detroit Denver, Colo.   7:30 p.m.    
  Sun, Apr 19  Ohio State * Denver, Colo.   1:00 p.m.    
  Sat, Apr 25  Air Force * Denver, Colo.   TBA    
  Fri, May 01 –
 Sun, May 03
 GWLL Championship at Troy, Mich.   TBA    
* Conference Games

 

“I am pleased to announce these four young men as our captains for the 2009 season,” Munro said. “They represent a great class of seniors and I know they will work hard to live up to the standards of such a critical part of a team’s success; great leadership.”

 

Murray served as co-captain last season, appearing in 16 games with 12 starts. The midfielder tallied 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points. His hat trick performances against Penn (3/9/08) and Ballarmine (4/13/08) and his 10 multi-point games earned him All-GWLL Second Team honors for the season.

 

Widerstedt will join Murray in the midfield in 2009 after a steady 2008 performance in which he saw action in all 17 games for the Pioneers. During his junior season, he tallied seven points on two goals and five assists, recovered 28 groundballs and recorded six caused turnovers.

 

Konkel will continue t be a presence for Denver in goal. Coming off a great season that saw him start 15 games for the Pioneers, the senior recorded 138 saves, while allowing 141 goals for a 49.5 save percentage. Konkel finished the season with five double-digit save games and turned in a stellar five-save performance in Denver’s 14-1 win over Air Force, a game in which he allowed only one goal while facing 17 shots.

 

Wahler, the lone junior to serve as captain of the Pioneers played in all 17 games with six starts last season. He tallied two goals and two assists for four points and placed 9 of 11 shots on goal for an 81.8 shots on goal percentage.  Wahler led team with 112 groundballs in 2008, including a game-high 17 against Quinnipiac (4/11/08). He went 185-for-342 in face-offs for a 54.1 winning percentage for the season.

 

Profile: University of Denver Men’s Lacrosse Coach Jamie Munro


 Jamie Munro returns for his 11th season as head coach of the Denver Pioneers in 2009. He has a career record of 84-62, Denver’s all-time winningest lacrosse coach. Munro is a two-time Great Western Lacrosse League Coach of the Year, earning the award in 2000 and 2006.

Munro led Denver to its sixth consecutive winning season in 2008. The Pioneers made their second NCAA Tournament appearance and finished with a 10-7 overall record. Denver tied for first in the Great Western Lacrosse League regular season standings at 4-1 and placed six players on the All-GWLL team, including GWLL Newcomer of the Year Jamie Lincoln.

LaxBuzz asked Coach Munro two questions:

LAXBUZZ: What is your outlook for the 2008-2009 season?

Coach Munro: “We return most of our players from last year’s NCAA qualifying team. Our expectations are very high, but we have a long way to go. So far this fall has been challenging and rewarding. We have made important strides and continue to push the team forward.”

LAXBUZZ: What do you look for in recruits?

Coach Munro: “Obviously we need great character and serious students. Athletically we recruit players that bring something special in terms of speed, quickness, size, skill, playmaking ability, and we look for intangibles such as competitiveness, toughness and coach-ability.”

In his 10 years at DU, Munro has coached four All-Americans in Mike Law, Scott Davidson, Geoff Snider and Corey Vann.

 Prior to coming to Denver, Munro spent eight seasons at Yale as the top assistant coach. As the Bulldogs offensive coordinator from 1991-97, Munro designed an attack that helped the team achieve five Top 20 national rankings in eight seasons and reach the NCAA quarterfinals in 1992. Yale’s offense averaged 13 goals per game in 1996, which lead to a No. 14 ranking in the final NCAA Division I poll.

 

 

 

In Munro’s final year at Yale, he assumed the defensive coordinator role. The 1998 Bulldog squad yielded 9.1 goals per game and ranked among the nation’s Top 10 teams in scoring defense. Two members of Munro’s defense earned All-America honors, while the team’s goaltender and two defensemen earn All-Ivy honors.

 

Munro also worked with the goaltenders in his eight seasons with the Bulldogs. During his tenure, Yale netminders earned All-America and/or All-Ivy league accolades six times. Munro also served as the recruiting coordinator, handling all scouting, evaluating and contacting high school prospects, along with arranging official and home visits.

 

Munro’s first coaching experience came at Colorado College. Serving as the top assistant, he helped the Tigers to a 14-2 overall record, a Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Lacrosse League title and the first national ranking in school history. Munro was also the architect of a Tiger offense that averaged 14 goals per contest.

 

As a player, Munro was a four-year member of the Brown University lacrosse team. He garnered All-Ivy league honors from 1987-89 and capped his collegiate career by being named an All-American in 1989. Munro captained the Bears squad as a senior and played in the North-South College All-Star Game. Munro played professionally for the Boston Blazers of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League and was named to the USILA Club All-Star Team in 1993.

 

Munro and his wife Sara, along with their son Colin and daughters Emily and Lucy, reside in Highlands Ranch.

 

 

 

http://www.denverpioneers.com/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=18600&KEY=&SPID=10874&SPSID=90265

Profile: Fresno State Women’s Lacrosse Coach Sue Behme


http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/article/20081024/SPORTS/810240335/1006

Sue Behme had her work cut out for her the moment she stepped on campus at Fresno State.

Hired over the summer as the school’s first-ever coach of women’s lacrosse, she had about two months to find 23 student-athletes to teach the game to, knowing full well the following conditions:

 

  • None of the local high schools currently play lacrosse.  
  • The school doesn’t even have a club team for lacrosse.  
  • The team starts Division I lacrosse competition in eight months. Imagine if Steve Cleveland had to do that with the Fresno State men’s basketball team.

    “It would be like taking a basketball and going out onto the basketball court in the Save-Mart Center and having a roster of 10 kids show up that have never seen a basketball, that have never seen a basketball hoop, that don’t even know what the lines on the court mean or the rules,” Behme said. “And then have to compete at this level.”

    When you look at it that way, Behme’s job is actually a lot harder.

    She spent the last nine seasons as head coach at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., where people are a little more familiar with the ways of the ball and the crosse — a term for the netted stick the players carry.

    A five-time coach of the year in the Division III Empire 8 conference, Behme learned lacrosse while playing soccer for SUNY Cortland in upstate New York, and by graduation was a Division-III All-American in both sports.

    Before spending nine seasons at Nazareth College, she started a lacrosse program at SUNY Geneseo, an experience that will no doubt be helpful as she tries to pioneer the sport in the Central Valley.

    “That’s another reason why I took the job,” Behme said. “I thought to myself if I can do this, I can do anything.

    “I tell ya, I’m one of the most fortunate coaches in the world,” she added. “We didn’t have a club here, really nobody’s played lacrosse let alone heard of girl’s lacrosse and we’ve had a great progression.

    “It’s not like we’re looking at this as a club year,” Behme said. “That’s not the mentality at all.”

    Behme said she’s not just expecting the team to compete, she’s expecting them to be competitive when the season starts in February, even though she hasn’t had a whole lot of time to work with her charges.

    “Coming in the situation that we’re in, it’s not what the administration wanted,” she said.

    “I mean they obviously would’ve wanted to have given myself a year to recruit and then start to put the team together, but that just wasn’t going to happen.”

    Now is as good a time as any to ask why Fresno State only gave itself less than a calendar year to ready a Division I program.

    The story of women’s lacrosse actually starts with a decision made by a six-person task force appointed by university president John Welty last December to assess the school’s Title IX compliance.

    Title IX is legislation enacted in 1972, which basically states that if schools want to receive federal funding, they must abide by gender equity standards in the opportunities offered to male and female students.

    The task force said the school had two options: Cut men’s scholarships, which it felt went against the Title IX’s purpose of creating opportunity, or add two women’s programs in order to better reflect in its scholarship opportunities in the nearly 60-40 ratio of female-to-male students on campus.

    Athletic Director Thomas Boeh said the school had to act fast to stay in compliance, so two programs were added.

    Swimming and diving was revived after being cut four years ago, and Central Valley lacrosse was born over what appeared to be a more logical choice in water polo.

    The Central Valley has excelled in water polo, moreover, the Clovis/Fresno as well as the Visalia/Porterville areas. All have won Central Section titles and sent athletes to four-year schools.

    But it wasn’t the sport chosen.

    Fresno State had its reasons for going with lacrosse. Boeh said it was a practical choice for the school for a number of reasons.

    “We chose lacrosse because of its rapidly emerging status in Division I institutions,” Boeh said, “It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the NCAA.”

    He said it helped that the school already had a new soccer facility planned, which is now serving a dual purpose as the lacrosse field.

    Boeh also said there were pockets of support throughout California especially in the Bay Area, where there are about 50 competitive women’s lacrosse club teams.

    Helping the sport reach its potential was one of the main reasons Behme took the job and in that respect, the team has already made an impact.

    Shortly after the lacrosse team at Fresno State was announced, Doug Semmen, athletic director for Fresno Unified school districts, announced seven high schools in the district would start a lacrosse league.

    It’s currently the only district to do so in the Central Section of the California Interscholastic Federation, the state’s governing body for high school athletics.

    One day lacrosse could be a household name in the San Joaquin Valley, but that doesn’t help this year’s Fresno State squad much.

    Although unable to recruit, Behme was able to make multi-sport athletes out of competitors on other Fresno State athletic teams like track and golf, and was surprised to find a handful with lacrosse experience.

    “The fact that we even have five players that have played is really, for being in the Central Valley region, much better than probably anyone would’ve thought. Let alone with the athletes that we’ve been able to put together.”

    Heather Jack, one of the few on the team with experience, attended the University of Nevada-Reno for a year and a half and started a club team there before taking a semester off to coach high school lacrosse in Nevada.

    The story of her arrival, like most of her teammates, is the atypical recruiting tale.

    “I contacted coach, and she asked me if I wanted to come play,” Jack said. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, I wanna come play,'” she said with a laugh.

    Even though Jack came to Fresno State eager for Division I competition, she doesn’t mind playing with teammates who are learning the sport.

    “I’m used to it,” she said, adding she moved around a lot in high school and played in three different states.

    “I started in Maryland and then I moved to Texas when (lacrosse) was still brand-new. And when I moved to Las Vegas and played my final year there it was still brand-new. It’s all about growing the sport, and helping the sport get to the high potential it has.

    “It’s not frustrating, it’s cool, it’s fun. I wish I could start over again.”

    Most of the Jack’s teammates, like sophomore Christina Cabias, heard about the team through a posting on the school’s Web site and wanted to try something new.

    Cabias had scholarship offers to other schools for softball after playing several sports at Fresno Christian high school. When she didn’t get a scholarship to Fresno State, where she ultimately wanted to go, she thought her game days were behind her — until a friend saw an Internet posting and encouraged her to try out for the lacrosse team.

    “I just figured hey, here’s an opportunity. I might as well take it and take advantage of it,” she said. “I had always really wanted to try something new.”

    The team practices three hours a day from Monday to Saturday, learning the skills and slowly inserting game situations with a group of 29 that will eventually be cut down to 23 when the final roster is announced in November.

    Behme said even though her players were new to the sport, they were practicing the same things as other schools in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the conference the Bulldogs will compete in.

    The MPSF consists of the University of Denver, California, Stanford, Oregon, UC Davis and St. Mary’s. Boeh listed access to the conference as another reason why the move to lacrosse made sense.

    “What we’re doing in the fall right now is no different than what any of the top Division I teams are doing,” Behme said. “It’s just that we may not be doing it as quickly.”

    Cabias said the whole experience has been a fun challenge and a lot of the concepts are similar to other sports she’s played, but she’s still learning some of the finer points.

    “The rules, learning all the different kind of rules, there’s so many that cross over from basketball, like three seconds in the 8-meter,” Cabias said, referring to an 8-meter area in front of the goal. “But some of it is new rules, like don’t go in the crease,” an area five-meters in front of the goal.

    “Like in lacrosse, you can’t go in there because it’s a foul or a free throw or something,” Cabias said, searching for the right word.

    “It’s terminology too, that’s different.”

    Despite adverse conditions, Behme said the team was doing well on a learning progression she developed from years of playing and coaching.

    “I don’t care about the best lacrosse players, if you’re an athlete you will pick up this game,” Behme said.

    “And that’s where I give these ladies a lot of credit, because they’re doing well. I mean the fact that they’ve only been learning the game for a month and a half, two months tops. They’re progressing along really, really well.”