A Day in the Life of Senior Captain Joe Wood

The Washington and Lee Sports Information Department followed around senior captain Joe Wood on Tuesday, March 11 to to show a day in the life of a W&L student-athlete.

Wood’s day began with breakfast and two classes, which was followed by lunch and preparation for the Generals’ game at Mary Washington.  We hope you enjoy this look into the life of Joe Wood.

Up Next: A member of the team offers a written take on the Generals’ game at Randolph-Macon and talks about the onset of ODAC Conference play.

Assessing the Season’s Start

By: Head Coach Gene McCabe

Head Coach Gene McCabe

Head Coach Gene McCabe

There is a unique story to each season. Within a season there are a number of chapters that help create that story. Typically you can find common themes in each chapter which help define a team’s legacy. This is a look back at our season through the first four games, or Chapter One if you will.

Our preseason was excellent. The guys worked extremely hard everyday and most of our players returned in great shaped. I was particularly pleased with the improvement across the board in our testing areas. I believe we start the preseason stronger and more athletic than we ever have. The competition to make the roster was intense and after a demanding three weeks of practice in bitter cold temperatures we were ready for the season to begin.

Dawning Blue Cascade R helmets, new uniforms, and new gloves, the new look Generals opened the season with a solid win over Ferrum College. After a forgettable first quarter brought on by nerves, we settled in and pulled away from a tenacious Ferrum team. We went 21 for 23 on faceoffs that day. I was pleased that we were able to play everyone who was cleared to play. I know how important those minutes are for our young guys.

On the first day of February break we travelled to Newport News to take on Christopher Newport University. The weather in Lexington had prevented us from practicing mid week. We got on the bus prepared to play a game with just 80 minutes of practice under our belt. We seemed undaunted. On Saturday morning it was a cold, rainy, gross day out there and I was in a baaaad mood! (inside team joke ;)). CNU is a good team and they are well coached. We had to fight hard all day to get the win in some of the worst conditions I have coached in. Two things about this game stood out for me. One, we played as well for 60 minutes as a team as I have seen us play this early in the season. Two, the energy and support from our bench was amazing! I cannot recall that kind of sustained enthusiasm from the bench in my time here at W&L. I think we all learned a good lesson about the importance of team on that day. I believe our energy, team speed played a big part in helping us pull away from a feisty CNU team and get the win.

We had a week between games and we were on Feb break. We took Sunday and Monday off. We practiced hard Tuesday- Friday to prepare for what we knew would be an excellent Denison team. While we lost a tough game against a very good team, I was pleased with how well we played in many facets of the game. Ultimately, I came away from the game with a lot of positives. I did, however, feel we needed to shoot better, finish transition plays better, talk better and be more organized on defense.

We had another week between games to prepare for a different, but equally good Washington College team. We cut practice length down on this week because we felt like the guys were getting a little worn out from two-hour practices. We also knew that many had a lot of academic work to do. In addition, it was the last week of pledgeship and we have 14 first-year players. I was personally relieved to know our first-year guys were in the final week of the fraternity new membership education process.

We worked hard and I felt we were well prepared for WAC. I explained to the team that it was important that we bring the fight to our opponent, play with poise and composure and to play with a chip on their shoulder. Well, to be honest, I do not think we did any of that. I was disappointed with how our team showed up for the game and how we played the game throughout. I was impressed with WAC for sure, but I felt we had failed as a team to bring the level of hunger, intensity, discipline and focus needed to win big games like that. I could see that the team was disappointed in themselves. I took this loss personally and I know the staff did as well. Accountability in the face of adversity is vital to personal growth. One must look at themself and ask what they could have done better. While going in I believed we had set the right tone and sent the right messages, it was clear that we did not get our guys prepared to play at their highest level on that day.

The only real failure in life is the failure to learn and grow from setbacks and mistakes. All you can do is get up when knocked down, dust yourself off, and move forward with great resolve to improve. The way this team responds to this adversity and this loss is going to help shape the legacy of this team.

The guys knew that they would be challenged this week with demanding practices. We challenged every player to raise the level of play. We need to improve our toughness both mentally and physically. We need to be more patient and efficient as an offensive unit and we need to capitalize on the impressive number of transition opportunities we create in each game. On defense, we need to execute what we do more consistently. Playing these good teams out of conference will help our younger defense mature faster for sure.

So we currently stand at 2-2. We are closing out a good week of practice as we prepare for our annual rival game against Franklin and Marshall. This is an important road trip and I am very much looking forward to seeing how we respond after a tough loss last weekend.

Despite recent setbacks, I really like this team. There is an unflappable nature to this group. They take a lot of pride in what they do. We knew from the beginning that we would face some adversity in the early season. We are not a young team but we are undeniably a “younger” team. With that in mind there are going to be some growing pains and some tough lessons learned. From the onset, I maintained that we may not be as good (in terms of wins and losses) early on like we were last year, but I believe wholeheartedly we could be better than we were last year later in the season. No one said it better than our good friend and comrade Tony Conway, we just need to “make each day better than the last”! I am confident this team has the ability, the leadership, and the character to make this a special season.

Onward Generals!

Up Next: We follow a member of the Generals’ team around campus for our video diary “Day in the Life” series.

A Day in My Life (Jonathan Henry)

By: Jonathan Henry ’17

First-year midfielder Jonathan Henry

First-year midfielder Jonathan Henry

Today, a typical Tuesday during the season, began for me with an early alarm at 7:50 am. On good mornings, I’ll be able to shower and eat breakfast in the Dining Hall before my 8:35 class. Professor Cooper teaches my class, Philosophy 150, Environmental Ethics. Today the class, one that focuses on placing value in nature, has the topic of animal rights. For class, we had been required to read chapters from “Ethics and the Environment” by Dale Jamieson. Professor Cooper spent much of the hour and twenty-five minutes of class challenging us to think about in which instances do we include non-human beings as moral patients.

After class a fellow freshman lacrosse player who is in Professor Cooper’s class, Sam Barrett, and I head to the dining hall for a mid-morning snack. The best food you can whip up at that time has to be bumpers cereal with chocolate milk and sliced bananas. Unfortunately today, I had an Accounting 201 midterm later around 8:10 pm so after breakfast, I headed to the library to study (see Mom…).

The Dining Hall usually serves at least one good choice of food for lunch and today there happened to be a delicious nacho bar. On Tuesday’s, I have a second class, Global Politics, with two other lacrosse players, sophomore Henry Waite and freshman Chris Comerford. Today both of them presented their power points on Global dilemmas and provided great knowledge for the entire class.

As the class ended 2:50, I headed to Graham-Lees to study for my accounting test with renown freshman lacrosse player, Matt Infante. Before heading down to practice, which lasts from 4:45-6:45 on most days, we grabbed a quick PB&J and chocolate milk.

Some days we will lift before practice, or watch film of the opposing team. Today’s practice was a bruiser, consisting of up-tempo drills and plenty of conditioning.  Today’s practice lacked an enthusiastic pump up speech from the great captain, Jack Reuter, however, Sean Gebhard provided a solid one in his place. Sadly practice didn’t have any music. It did however have the beloved 300 and jingle-jangle runs, and full field work. I felt like we got better at today’s practice behind the great play of “la flama blanco” during the General’s Drill and an aggressive defense led by the ever-enthusiastic Coach Kiley. This week is especially important as we missed practice Monday due to a snow day and as we look to rebound from a disappointing performance this past weekend.

Matt Infante, a unique joke-teller who has re-energized the static stretching period, concluded the end of practice with yet another phenomenal calves joke. On normal days, days without a midterm, I will be in the locker room, listening to Baner repetitively ask for our laundry loops. Post-practice, we usually head to the dining hall as a freshmen class, enjoying the froyo machine and great dessert bar, staying there until it closes at 8pm.

After taking the midterm with other lacrosse players, such as Christian Zanetis, Andrew Riehel, Robbie Lance and Kevin Braddish (we all crushed it), I was lucky enough not to have any homework and played a quick game of Super Smash Brothers with Whit Griffin in Graham-Lees (sorry Mom…). Most nights consist of doing homework, first floor on the library with other lacrosse players, and possibly a run to the Café for a bacon sunrise sandwich. The night usually ends with a few snapchats and a goodnight call from Jack Reuter.

Up Next: Coach McCabe provides a mid-season report card.

Looking back at CNU and ahead to Denison

By: Matt Infante ’17

First-year defenseman Matt Infante

First-year defenseman Matt Infante

Upon arrival at Christopher Newport University we were dealt with unfavorable weather, worst of all the freezing rain. Many of us have never been in such harsh conditons, especially the players from California and Florida (Austin Benacquisto, Ryan Brady, Joe Perrella). Adversity like weather does not stop a General, in fact it motivates one.  We played as hard as we could for the full 60 minutes. The motivation started with superb pump-up speeches from Coach McCabe and none other than Jack Reuter. This went from the field to the bench and yes to the food at the tailgate afterwards. I ate so many of those chicken fingers and chocolate chip cookies. But back to the game, everybody played their hearts out and did everything they could in order to get the W.

The offense seized control early, finishing almost every opportunity they had, resulting in our 14 goals. Oh yeah, Joe Wood had four goals and one assist on the day. Our defense laid the lumber, like Conor O’Toole with the ding-dong and Buck Armstrong with the many one-handed wrap checks. Don’t worry you other poles, you guys played a stellar game too. Those fellas have too much swag. I also need to give a lot of credit to the brick wall we have in goal, Warren Berenis because god only knows how cold his hands were. Now to the bench…

We were all hyped up from the talks our coach and captain gave and feeling the freeze from the environment. This led to us start getting rowdy and yelling at the other team. We keyed in on specific players and were sure to get EXTRA loud when these players came anywhere near us. The bench should be in the stat book because we caused at least 5 turnovers on the day. Many of us thrived in the cold to cheer on our team, like my good friend Kevin Braddish. Our screams were contagious in the sense that the team played better when we were louder. And when our team played better, we got louder. It acted as a cycle only to benefit the Gennies.  It was a full team effort from Armstrong to Zanetis. This was a fun game and we look to have more fun on Saturday at 1 pm against Denison.

When I look at the calendar and see our game against Denison, I see an opportunity. An opportunity to show the lacrosse world what the 2014 W&L lax team is all about. We are a group of dudes that work hard and play even HARDER.  Because of that, I know this season will be one hell of a ride that I look forward to being apart of. Watch out Denison.

Early and often- Jack Blair

Recapping the season-opener

By: Sean Gebhard ’14

Senior attackman Sean Gebhard

Senior attackman Sean Gebhard

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.

2014 Washington and Lee Season Preview

Welcome to the official website for the 2014 Washington and Lee men’s lacrosse season.  During the course of the year, we’ll give you an all-access, inside look at the Generals’ men’s lacrosse program, including video diaries, mic’d up coaches and team lifting sessions.  Members of the team will also detail their season in writing.

We begin the Washington and Lee men’s lacrosse “The Season” with the Generals’ season preview video.  We hope you enjoy it!

Up Next: One of the Generals reviews the season-opener against Ferrum in a written piece.