Hello everyone, it’s been a few months since my last post and I am grateful and eager to make an appearance yet again on Inlacrossewetrust.com. A lot has happened since my last post so let’s get right into it.
2013 looks to be a pivotal year for the North American Lacrosse League as the NALL was able to weather the storm brought on last year by the rift in ownership groups. This year sees the NALL supporting 4 solid franchises based in Louisville, Boston, Baltimore, and Providence.
Just like last year the Kentucky StickHorses kicked off their training camp for the 2013 season this past weekend at historic Freedom Hall in Louisville, KY. This season we invited 35 players to camp, a nice increase from last year’s talent pool with new draft picks like Spencer Lyons, George Castle, Travis Bland, Josh Kaperzack and more. The new draft picks joined the majority of last year’s roster as our only loses being Ginny Capicchioni (Baltimore Bombers) David Mitchell (work commitments) and Corey Malampy (work commitments). What we were left with is 35 hungry players eager to prove their worth this past weekend.
The camp started off Friday night with a standard 2 hour practice/workout where everyone was introduced to one another and the new players received an opportunity to meet our coaching staff and front office. The talent and competition I saw Friday night was a significant step up from last year and I knew right away this would be a different team and the weekend would prove just that.
Saturday morning started off super early with a 9am practice (for us goalies we need to be there quite early to get suited so this had me up personally at 7am) and even though we practiced late the night before and were up early, the intensity was evident right from the jump. After many drills and a controlled scrimmage we took a break for lunch and a little bit of rest. A few hours later we were back at it again with a 90 minute film and walk through session. Looking at footage from last season’s finale was a sobering reminder of how Boston took it to us in the last game, and really set the tone for the shoot around and eventually the Black and White scrimmage. After the shoot around I had just enough time to grab a shower and some Starbucks and I was headed back to the arena to suit up for the 3rd time of the day.
Coach Schroeder, Campbell, and Murphy decided to organize the teams based on returners vs. new players as the basis for the Black and White scrimmage. All of the returning StickHorses were on the Black team and all of the newcomers suited up for the White. I played the first half of the game for Black and surrendered 5 goals, while my counterpart Spencer Lyons held our Black squad to just 2 goals in the first two periods sending us into the dressing room with the White team up 5-2.
Tim McCormack, former goaltender for UMASS was invited to camp, and he suited up for the 2nd half of our game doing an outstanding job for his first boxla action in net allowing 7 goals in the half. But from a goaltending perspective, hats off to Spencer, who totaled 37 saves on the night to lead the White team to a complete game 12-7 win.
Other notable players from the game included Greg Bice, Anthony Kelly, and Joel Zalesky who each put up goals for team Black. From the White side Eric O’Brien, Travis Bland, George Castle, Josh Kaperzak all had tallies while draft picks like Jake Davis played with distinction. Also to note was the play of several MLL field players getting their first professional box lacrosse experience like Vonzel LeGall, Audi Glass, and Stefan Schroeder who’s field lacrosse goaltending skills were on display as he picked off a wicked shot from the point and was able to create a beautiful transition opportunity.
After the game, the StickHorse organization as always made time for the fans with the player meet & greet on the field followed by the standard team function post game at our sponsor’s. After a long weekend of lacrosse there was a lot to think about, and one thing is for certain, the level of play and effort that was displayed on the floor didn’t make the coaches jobs any easier.
Looking forward, Coach Pete and his staff are currently in the process of making their final selections and we are ready to reconvene after the holiday in preparation for our season/home opener on Jan 5th in Louisville with a re-match of last year’s season finale vs. Boston Rockhoppers. Until then I know myself and my other teammates will be working hard and getting ready for this match up. If this past weekend’s training camp was any indication of what the upcoming season is going to be like I can assure the games will be extremely competitive and intense.
All in all, another great weekend with the StickHorses and tons of anticipation leading up to Jan 5th; be sure to check back for future blogs from myself and other NALL players like Mike Stone and Vincent Talbot as the season progresses. Until then support American box lacrosse and the NALL!