Saturday, April 30, 2016

Middlebury Men's Lacrosse Edges Bates to reach NESCAC Semi-Finals

Middlebury Men's Lacrosse Edges Bates to reach NESCAC Semi-Finals
In InsideLacrosse

Kyle Soroka scored one of his game-high five goals with 13.9 seconds remaining, lifting Middlebury (11-5) to an 11-10 win over Bates (11-4) in a NESCAC Quarterfinal game on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The Panthers advance to next Saturday's semifinal round at Tufts against Bowdoin at 3:00 p.m. Middlebury entered the game as the fourth seed and ranked ninth nationally, while the Bobcats were seeded fifth and held the 10th spot in the national rankings.

With the game tied at 3-3 in the second quarter, Middlebury went on a 3-0 run, taking a 6-3 advantage late in the half. Jon Broome opened the spurt with a nice bounce shot from close range with 1:50 left on the clock. Soroka followed with a 15-yard shot on the left side to make it a 5-3 game with exactly 1:00 remaining. Sean Carroll found Cedrick Rhodes, who buried a shot with just 10 seconds left in the half to put his team up 6-3 at the intermission. John Jackson won three-straight face-offs during the run to aid his team's efforts.

Bates battled back in the second half, with a goal from Jack Allard and a man-up tally from Charlie Fay to make it a one-goal game (6-5) at the 11:40 mark of the third quarter. Soroka answered at 9:54 before Bates responded with three more goals, giving them five of the quarter's first six tallies. Clark Jones cut hard down the middle and converted a pass from Allard for the first goal, before Burke Smith took advantage of a turnover and tied the game at 7-7 with 6:22 remaining in the third quarter. Allard scored the third goal of the run, putting the Bobcats up for the first time since holding a 2-1 advantage. Carroll ended the run for Middlebury, scoring with an open look after a pass from Broome with 3.1 seconds left in the third quarter.

Read it all at InsideLacrosse

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

When Your Child Wants to Become a College Athlete, by Karen Gross

When Your Child Wants to Become a College Athlete

across the educational pipeline with arrows.jpg
Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of blog posts reflecting on the educational pipeline by Karen Gross, former president of Southern Vermont College. She has taught students from preschool through graduate school. Her first piece covered breaking down pre-K–20 silos, and her second piece covered changes in the college admission process. Her next piece will focus on reimagining preschool education. Her children’s book, Lady Lucy’s Quest, was just released.
Many children dream of becoming an athlete in college and then professionally. Parents are excited by the idea of their child receiving a full-ride athletic scholarship, not realizing how challenging it is to obtain and retain one. However, how high school students “get into the collegiate game” is complicated and filled with pitfalls.
Athletic recruiting is a big business. Many books, articles, and movies explore the issue. (See The Blind Side.) NCAA’s rules are numerous. Some provisions make perfect sense. For instance, a student cannot be considered a prospect before ninth grade. Some measures seem absurd. Consider that a college recruiter cannot even buy a cup of coffee for a Division III transfer recruit when visiting that student at his or her original institution.
I am familiar with the vagaries of collegiate and professional athletics from being in the trenches both as a parent of a Division I athlete and an educator at a Division III institution. Our son attended a sports academy in his last years of high school after having been a student at an independent K–12 school. He was recruited and competed as a Division I athlete, but he then transferred out of that DI college to a university that did not offer DI sports. He has since graduated from college, earned a PhD, and is now a professor.
I’ve established my own bona fides in athletic recruiting in many ways. While I was president of Southern Vermont College, an NCAA Division III school, I served as president of the New England Collegiate Conference and also participated in the NCAA Division III President’s Advisory Group. I have personally recruited athletes (I’m four for four), and have worked with a remarkable NCAA lawyer on issues involving NCAA rules and possible infractions. I have also written about collegiate athletics for an NCAA magazine and for the online publication CollegeAD.
Based on my experience, I offer six key points to help guide parents, teachers, school counselors, and coaches of students attending independent schools. 

Point 1. The NCAA Is More Than Just Football and Basketball.

NCAA’s moneyed sports, with their televised football and basketball championships, receive the lion’s share of public and media attention. Individual NCAA-sanctioned sports that many independent schools offer, such as tennis, golf, and track and field, receive a limited amount of attention.

Read it all HERE at NAIS Blog

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

@EAboyslacrosse coach Hayes to step down after season

@EAboyslacrosse coach Hayes to step down after season

Wednesday, 13th April 2016 

Categories Boy's/Men'sHigh School  
By Chris Goldberg, Posted 4/13/16

Andy Hayes has announced he will step down as head boys’ lacrosse coach at Episcopal Academy effective the end of the season.
Hayes has compiled a 132-106 record in his 12 seasons and informed his players on Friday following a game vs. St. Anthony’s (N.Y.)
Andy Hayes will step down following the season as Episcopal Academy head coach
Andy Hayes will step down following the season as Episcopal Academy head coach
“Episcopal Academy is a great school and this is a great job,” said Hayes, who also was an assistant for two years. “It’s been awesome to spend a quarter of my life coaching here.
“For 12 years I have been the steward of a program steeped in tradition, expectation, and national recognition. My predecessor, John Wynne still unfairly sits outside of the PA Lacrosse Hall of Fame but I never once took for granted what he had built. His success motivated me every season to meet his standard for excellence in the Episcopal Academy lacrosse program.”
The Churchmen, fighting injuries all year, won their first game Tuesday, 10-2 over Penn Charter, after dropping their first six, four by one goal and two in overtime. EA has always played a national schedule and Hayes said it has prepared the team well for the rigors of the Inter-Ac League. The reason he chose to announce his decision now is to help the school get a jump on choosing a new coach.
“The reason for the timing was to allow the school to make preparations to hire an exceptional coach for the next year,” said Hayes.
Hayes taught Honors Biology and Biology for 10 years at Episcopal Academy, but stepped down three years ago to concentrate fully on his job as CEO of NXT Sports.
Hayes said the program’s finest moment occurred in 2012 when EA shocked Haverford School to win the Inter-Ac Invitational and cap his best season (19-5). He took pride in knowing his team has competed regularly with league titans Haverford School and Malvern Prep with much smaller enrollments.
“Coaching the boys lacrosse team always presented the toughest of challenges as we played a national schedule every year in the hope of best preparing for the daunting Inter-Ac League,” he said. “Senior classes over the years adopted various slogans to guide them through their seasons but one became the battle cry for our most successful team.
“‘No excuses’ was the mantra of our 2012 Championship team which upended Haverford 15-11 in our final game. Those boys epitomized what it means to play lacrosse at Episcopal. They outworked, out-thought, and outplayed everyone that May and beat bigger, stronger, faster, and more talented teams on the road to raising the trophy. That phrase has stayed with the program to this day publicly, but really was the cornerstone for our success over the past 10 years.”
Hayes has coached 16 All-Americans and 49 all-league players. One senior, face-off specialist Christian Feliziani, has been named to the USA U-19 team that will play this summer in the FIL Championships in Coquitlam, B.C. In each of the last four years, EA has advanced to the Inter-Ac Invitational/Challenge semifinals.
EA athletic director Regina Buggy gave this statement:
“Andy Hayes will be stepping down as The Episcopal Academy’s head boys’ lacrosse coach at the end of this season. While we are saddened by his decision, we are beyond grateful for Andy’s commitment to our school and to our students for the past 12 years.
“Andy has helped to build a strong, successful, and nationally recognized lacrosse program here, and he will be sorely missed. We are now forming a search committee and, with Andy’s help, we look forward to finding the best person to follow in his footsteps and continue to steward an excellent lacrosse program here at Episcopal.”
Hayes credited his assistant coaches, most notably Will Gibbs, who has been with him for nine years; as well as John Bodnar, Bryan McDermott, Marty Kupprion, Kevin O’Brien, Khari Baten and more.
“All of these coaches have contributed to our success here at Episcopal and I appreciate all that they did for the program and the boys,” said Hayes, who also thanked head of school TJ Locke, Buggy and associate director of athletics Jim Farrell.
“Finally, I would like to thank all of my former and current players. It is not easy being an Episcopal Academy lacrosse player. The standard of excellence that we strive for would not be possible if these boys had not continued to represent the school and the program in an exemplary manner with their effort and their play. Our schedules routinely were amongst the toughest in the country and presented our teams with opportunities to play against the best lacrosse players in the country.
“I never made it easy for these boys and they always met the challenge.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"What's up with the Hoos this year?"

An excerpt from an interesting perspective!

"What's up with the Hoos this year?" 

By Seward Totty at "" 
The Cavaliers have long been considered one of the sport’s dynasties, with 16 ACC titles and seven national championships as proof of their long time dominance. However, with yesterday’s loss to Duke, the men have failed to win a conference game for the second year in a row and also have missed qualifying for the ACC tournament for the third consecutive year. Even more glaring is the fact that the team is 1-16 in its last 17 ACC games and has lost twelve straight. This is not Virginia lacrosse. Not even close. 
Longtime coach Dom Starsia had compiled a record of 267-95 (.738) in his 23 seasons prior to 2015, but this year’s team sits at 6-7 and Dom’s tenure may be drawing to a close. There has been a pervasive pall over the program ever since the tragic murder of women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love by men’s player George Huguely in a fit of jealous rage in May 2010. Ironically, the men’s team did manage to win the 2011 national championship with an amazing and unexpected performance in the national tournament. However, the start of Huguely’s trial in February 2012 and the attendant negative publicity and focus on Starsia’s oversight of the program seems to have marked the turning point for the program. 
The negative publicity has affected recruiting to some degree but certainly there are other factors at work. Chief among them being the prevalence of early scholarship offers to ninth and tenth graders. Frankly these offers come too early to be accurate predictors of a player’s ability to succeed at the college level. Every coach agrees with this and hopes for reform, but until it does coaches feel the pressure to offer these kids before the next coach does. Virginia, for whatever reason, has seemingly failed to identify the players who continue to grow and mature over the course of their high school playing years and as a result the team lacks the star power that UVA is accustomed to. 
The spreading popularity of the game has given rise to new college programs that have diluted the pool of available talent. The University of Denver, the reigning NCAA champion, only began playing lacrosse in 1984. By comparison, Virginia has played varsity lacrosse for 87 years. 
Virginia generally is patient with its coaches, especially those who have had the success that Starsia has had, but the pressure is on Starsia to fix the program’s problems and fix them yesterday. Another winless ACC campaign and no NCAA and Starsia may be encouraged to retire and allow the school to bring in new leadership.

Monday, April 18, 2016

You control what you can control

You control what you can control, and what you can control is your effort every day. ~Dom Starsia

Friday, April 15, 2016

UVA's Zed Williams finds a second home with the Hoos

Williams Finds Second Home at UVA

April 15, 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- The Cattaraugus Reservation and the University of Virginia are in many ways worlds apart, and not only because of the 400-plus miles that separate them. Less than 1 percent of UVA's student body is Native American.
For Zed Williams, a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians, the easier choice would have been Syracuse or Albany. Both of those schools have lacrosse programs in which Native Americans have played starring roles, most recently the wondrous Thompson brothers at Albany.
But Williams, whose close-knit family lives on the reservation, about 30 miles southwest of Buffalo, N.Y., decided to spend his college years far away from the Empire State. He bonded immediately with the men who lead the UVA men's program -- head coachDom Starsia and associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale -- after which the choice was clear to Williams.
"As soon as I met Coach Starsia and Coach Van, right away I knew," said Williams, who arrived at UVA in the summer of 2013.
Now a 6-2, 185-pound junior who's in his second season as a starter, Williams ranks among the nation's top midfielders. With 21 points (17 goals and four assists), he's the Cavaliers' fourth-leading scorer, and he's second in ground balls with 41.
In its final regular-season home game, Virginia (6-6 overall, 0-3 ACC) hosts No. 13 Duke (7-6, 1-2) at noon Sunday at Kl√∂ckner Stadium. 
"It may take a little bit more sophisticated eye to appreciate the things Zed does on the field," Starsia said, "but he's one of the first guys that my peers talk about when they call, because they really admire all the things that he does for us on the field."
There were those in the Buffalo area, Williams said, who predicted he would struggle academically and socially at UVA, but he ignored them. Rob Genco, who coached Williams at Silver Creek High School and assisted him during the recruiting process, also heard criticism of Williams' decision.
"I received a bunch of phone calls from other coaches from different colleges that were recruiting him, kind of telling me that I screwed up and this kid's not going to make it [at UVA]," said Genco, who talks regularly with Williams.
"The past has shown that a lot of our Native American kids in general couldn't make it anywhere but certain colleges. I knew that wasn't true with Zed, and I pretty much told them, `I'm sorry you feel that way. He's a jersey to you, but I love the kid, and the decision wasn't made to see him fail.' "
Starsia, who has won four NCAA titles at UVA, loved what he saw in Williams as a person, and Williams' athletic ability was unquestioned. He also excelled in basketball and football at Silver Creek, but lacrosse was Williams' best sport. In five seasons on the varsity, he scored a national-record 729 points, on 444 goals and 285 assists.
"The success he had here on and off the field is unmeasurable and will never be duplicated," Genco said.
Even so, Starsia recalled, he had some concerns "early about whether or not this was going to be the right fit for Zed, whether or not he was going to be able to thrive here."
Those concerns proved to be unfounded.
"The way he's carried himself as an athlete and a student here has surpassed my expectations on so many different levels," Starsia said. "He's just a great kid, and it has been a joy for our program to have Zed in our community, and I think being at the University of Virginia has been good for him at the same time."
Williams, who lives with teammate Jeff Kratky, is majoring in drama at UVA. His passion is not acting, but rather behind-the-scenes work such as stage construction. Starsia has followed Williams' journey at Virginia with pride.
"I would tell you that I have never asked more of a young guy than what we've asked of Zed, in terms of study hall, tutors, mentors and commitment to the academic piece of this," Starsia said. "It was really important that that part of it begin to get some traction before I really worried a great deal about lacrosse. I always knew he could play the game, but I wanted to be sure we were being fair to him by asking him to be here academically and socially.
"He has, again, well-surpassed my expectations, and I would tell you that he's the magna cum laude of effort in my 40 years of coaching young men in similar situations."
To ease Williams' transition, Starsia asked one of the team's veterans, Ryan Tucker, to serve as a mentor in Charlottesville. When Williams arrived in 2013 for a summer transition program, Tucker was waiting to help him move into his dorm.
"I think Ryan went out of his way to try to help Zed get comfortable here and be comfortable here," Starsia said. "He's so quiet that it was a little hard for guys to get to know him, but you could see that he was so sincere and so thoughtful. I think everybody in the program sort of took him under their wing and was looking out for Zed from the beginning."
Still, it was a trying time for Williams, who has five brothers and two sisters.
"I remember the first summer, I struggled a little bit, just with everything," Williams said. "I didn't know where to go. I didn't know where my classes were. I guess I'm shy, and it takes me a long time to open up to people.
"That summer, I felt like I was by myself here, but I knew how great an opportunity it was. The whole time I've been here since that summer program, my brothers, the closest ones to me, my family, they're always in my ear, saying, `Keep at it.' "
The Seneca are part of the Iroquois Confederacy, which also includes the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Tuscarora. Through their mother, Wendy, the Williams siblings are part of the Seneca's Wolf Clan -- their father, Dan, is from the Beaver Clan -- and a friend gave them a nickname that stuck.
"He said, `Man, you guys are always traveling together, like a wolfpack,' " Williams recalled, smiling. "He started it when I was little, and then ever since then that's what we've been called."
On Williams' right arm is a large, elaborate tattoo of a wolf. Other family members have similar designs.
"We were always hanging out by ourselves, we were always together, and when we would go places in public, we would all go together as a group," Williams said.
At UVA, Williams' background piqued the interest of his teammates, who because of the Thompsons' exploits at Albany had some familiarity with lacrosse's Native American origins.
"They would ask me questions," Williams said. "They would ask me where I'm from, they asked a lot of questions, and they all took the time to get to know me."
His older brothers all played lacrosse for Silver Creek High, Williams said, and they still play box lacrosse, the indoor version of the sport. To the Williamses and many Native Americans, lacrosse is more than a game.
"To me, lacrosse, it is a spiritual thing," Williams said. "You can see that when you go home, and even here I feel like when I play lacrosse it's a great opportunity to run for the people who can't run anymore, to play for the people who can't play anymore. So when I play, I think of that and I try to go as hard as I can go for the people who aren't here and mean so much to me, and the people who can't run anymore."
At Brown University, where Starsia played football before picking up lacrosse, he majored in history. "One of the reasons that I think I fell so completely in love with lacrosse when I first was introduced to it was, I was fascinated by the Native American roots of the game," Starsia said.
His lacrosse teammates at the Ivy League school included his roommate Dave White, a Mohawk whose daughter Jade later was a student-manager for Starsia at UVA. He and White became close friends, Starsia said, and "so I spent some time on the reservation in upstate New York -- a different reservation than where Zed lives -- and I think I appreciate the culture a little bit."
Early in Starsia's tenure at UVA, his players included Justin Giles, a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Overall, though, few Native Americans have come through the Cavaliers' program.
"I was really excited about the possibility of this happening for Zed," Starsia said, "but I wanted to be sure that we were doing the right thing by having him here, putting him in a position where he could be successful. He had to make a total commitment to what was going to be required here in order for this to happen."
Williams made that commitment, and it's paid off. His UVA experience, he said, has "been awesome." He trusted that Starsia and Van Arsdale would look out for his best interests, and Williams' faith has been rewarded.
"I followed my heart and I believed in them and I came down here, and I haven't regretted any of it," he said.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


The newest Nike Lacrosse commercial promotes their mini-sticks, but more than anything, it serves up an important message to lacrosse players: 
Small ball in the video above means 2-on-2, with mini sticks, a soft foam ball, and two small cages. While this definition is nice, the real point here is to shrink down the game of lacrosse, and just play. You can use small or regular sticks. You can use a soft ball of any size. You can use goals, or buckets, or hats, or pipes, or anything you want, for goals. Wear gloves and helmets or don’t wear any pads and play an honor game where defense with your feet is the way to go. 
However you go about small ball, the main driver remains the same: Smaller lacrosse games give you more touches, and more chances to improve.
 Read the rest HERE at LaxAllStars