By: Sean Gebhard ’14
Finally, its that time of year again. After three weeks of early morning lifts and wall-ball tests, running 300s, and aggressive inter-squad competition, the team was eager to finally play a real game against someone with a different colored jersey. And what better way to start the season than under the lights at Wilson field. Tuesday night’s game against Ferrum marked the beginning of a brand new 2014 season.
After falling to Salisbury in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year, ending a record 16-5 season, this year’s team is hungrier than ever. Something that’s really resonated with the our team after that loss is how much harder we have to work this year in order to build off of last year’s success. Posted on the door of the locker room is a quote from Tony Conway, a dear member of the W&L community who is battling ALS. The sign reads, “make each day better than the last,” and serves as a constant reminder for us to compete at a high level each day, capitalize on areas that need improvement, and overall enjoy the process.
That being said, there was a lot to take away from the Ferrum game. The first quarter was NOT how we wanted to start the game. I think guys were pretty hyped up and gripping their sticks a little too tight which led to a bunch of un-caused turnovers. Moving forward, we know we have to get after teams early and often. Just ask Jack Blair; the kid’s got a knack for inspirational quotes during film sessions. Putting the first quarter behind us, we were able to bounce back in the second quarter, and once our offense settled in, there was no turning back. Cam Lewis really sparked the offense at attack notching his first hat-trick with two assists, and Jared Mitchell dominated the faceoff X winning 15-of-16. We scored in bunches, and got production from a lot of different guys. (We knew Andrew Riehl had a golden stick when it came to ground balls, but apparently he can bring the noise from 15 with no regard for human life).
This game was also a testament to the speed and overall athleticism that everyone should expect to see from this year’s team. The hard work in the weight room is manifesting itself on the field. Across the board, from transition to the riding game, we overwhelmed Ferrum. Especially on defense, “The Check Republik Bricksquad” (population Fraser, O’Toole, and Armstrong), really showcased their cohesiveness as a unit. Paired with relentless takeaway defense from Lessing and Schubert at LSM, everything was clicking on defense. Berenis, Devine, and first-year Jason Cleary, all played stellar in goal as well.