Posted by Andrew Shi
For the past four weeks the Skidmore men's lacrosse team has, in all types of weather, been running drills for, two hours a day, six days a week. All this work has been in preparation for a season that kicks off this Saturday. A precursory scrimmage against Fairleigh Dickinson University proved to be an early confidence boost as the Thoroughbreds left with a win, but also a lesson that there was still much upon which to improve on.
"We need to work on our consistency. We are very skilled across the board but our new faces are still learning the tendencies of how our team plays," Head Coach Jack Sandler said. The new faces to which Coach Sandler refers are the 15 freshmen that have joined the team this year.
"Usually the team has had a strong upperclassmen presence but with 11 seniors graduating last year and a few injuries to my grade we are actually the minority," said Brian Milazzo, one of the six seniors on the team of 40. "Our weakness right now is that younger players are going to have to fill in important roles and it is up to them to step up and perform in those roles."
Coach Sandler says that the freshmen have assimilated well into team play though, and despite the fact that he will have to start at least one freshman on the defense he is confident in the overall ability of the new class.
Milazzo also expressed his confidence in the overall team. "Although we are young on the defensive side of the ball with only one returning starter in myself, our offense is better than ever before returning two All-Americans in Mike Holden '14 and Mike Perlow '14. We also return starters to the two most valuable positions on the field in our goalie Connor Dowling '12 and faceoff man Ryan Paradis '12," Milazzo said
The fact that a large proportion of the team is made up of freshmen didn't deter either Coach Sandler or Milazzo's confidence in their success for the upcoming season. "I do not think it will take long for the inexperienced and younger players on defense to develop, and by mid-season the defense will feel comfortable as a unit and be better than last years. I fully expect we will win the liberty league championships this year and make some serious noise in the NCAA tournament," Milazzo said.
As for Saturday's game at Babson College Coach Sandler concedes "that it is tough for freshmen for their first game to be on the road," but both Coach Sandler and Milazzo are confident in a Skidmore win.
The men's lacrosse game is at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Babson.