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Coach Flip Naumburg's Journal
Sunday, October 18, 2009
OH WHAT A DAY
CSU lacrosse finished up fall ball in fine fashion on a gorgeous Fort Collins October day with a 10-4 flattening of C.U. in the headliner and final game of the day. We had two teams entered in the 10-team CSU annual Fall invitational Lacrosse Tournament and each of the two played three games. At the end of day CSU had 6 wins and no losses. It was a lot of lacrosse and a long day, but this group was totally energized and played hard all day long.
It would be hard to document the day on any kind of level without mentioning the weather and the crystal clear blue sky that was literally cloudless for the entire day. I did not check the temperature at any point, but I’m pretty sure it was in the mid-seventies, and I know by looking in the mirror and at my own reddened face that there was plenty of burn left in that mid-October sunshine.
CSU A 8, UNC 1
We played shortened games with a clock that ran more or less continuously. We hadn’t played a game since our one game of the fall, which was the alumni game almost a month ago, but just the same we came out quickly on the Bears from the University of Northern Colorado and put the game on ice early. I would characterize UNC as an up and coming program. They do very well at the Division II level of the MCLA National Championships, and they have for a few years now. They have some really nice players, but their overall program does not quite have the depth and strength of the CU’s and the BYU’s of our world, the Division I-ers.
We had the ball a lot against the Bears, and most of the time we did good things with it. When we didn’t have it we took it away from them fairly quickly. I do not think they scored that one goal that they did score until later in the game. We caused the Bears to make mistakes and give us the ball with our very team oriented zone ride. In other words they really couldn’t get the ball out of their own end very often.
We won the first face-off, and have been moving consistently towards generally winning the lion’s share of face-offs these days with our very experienced face-off man, Scott Gelston (#41 Fogo). He is now a Junior and facing off with good moves and great confidence. If you put in the ‘new kid’ face-off factor of Freshman Josh Gregg (#51 M) I boldly predict that we have the stuff for winning lots of the draws at X this year. Now if we could just keep possession every time we get the ball we’d be Hell on wheels.
Lacrosse teams put so much pressure on the ball off of the face off if they don’t come up with it that it is not enough to win the draw and get the ball in your stick. In this vain I continue to try to convince Scott that he can be and do more than that FOGO (Face-off, go off) way that he has always seemed to view himself.
Anyway, Scott got the early face-offs for us, and I think that certainly helped the cause. We were led in scoring and point getting by our outstanding and experienced attack unit. Senior Captain Paul Larson (#8 - A) had 2 goals and an assist, while our very talented other Senior Attackman Kevin Wolff (#13 A) added a goal and an assist. The CSU California Kid, who has now grown up to become a Junior and a team Captain, Cooper Kehoe (#3 A). had a goal and an assist as well. Freshman Jake Furnier (#50 A) came off the bench to score a goal and hand out two assists in his first real CSU game and reflecting more of the impact that our attack had on the game.
CSU B 5, MINES 1
The Colorado School of Mines was next up, this a B team opponent. The Mines team has a great goalie in Senior Mike Stone, but he couldn’t save them all, and Mines fights the same numbers challenge they always have. They never really have enough players, but last year they did beat our B team at this event. They also then had Mike’s older brother Brian, who had graduated from our CSU program, to coach them, and I’m not sure they had an actual coach out there yesterday. Our B team took charge early, however, and displayed that thing we have always had when we are a good team, and that is that it doesn’t matter who is playing, we play the same way, and also that it doesn’t matter WHO we play, but rather HOW we play. Freshman attackman Michael Korsick (#30 A) had one and one in his first CSU game. Freshman defender Danny Skoglund (#53 D/LSM) put his Texas mark on this game, picking up 3 loose balls and playing some coach impressing defense
CSU A 9, GENESIS 4
This game was our only one against a men’s Club team, and playing an older, more experienced group. Several of the Genesis players were CSU grads, and they were a pretty good team, but they did not have the full compliment of their real team. We eventually had to ‘loan’ them a goalie from our stable.
The game was close early, and it was like a one-goal game at half. I think they did hold a brief lead on us or we were tied at one point in the first half, the only time that was like that during any game all day, but the game never really seemed in peril at any point. We put it away at the end to be sure.
Cooper Kehoe was hot and found the net three times to go along with an assist against Genesis. Senior Middies Luke Miller (#12 M) and Clayton Wilbanks (#42 M) used their open field skills to find twine twice each. Speed kills, and Luke used his to add two assists to his point total. Four points is a nice game for any kind of midfielder, and that is especially so when considering the level of competition. The boy (Luke) can definitely run.
Senior Captain Andrew Stein (#10- D) picked off a couple of Genesis passes and picked up a few loose ground balls to boot, showing us the same kind of excellent stick work that he has always displayed. The truth is that Andrew just might be more a complete player than ever now, however. It seems he has worked extra hard to bring certain parts of his game more to the surface, and with the strength and depth that I think we have overall on defense, his completeness will surely make him shine more brightly than ever.
CSU B 6, METRO STATE 2
In this game the midfielders got it going for us in another fairly easy victory for the B teamers. Spencer Morrison (#23 M), a Junior who is really not so much a B-teamer led us in scoring with 2 goals and an a helper. He made it look very easy to get shots for himself or for our team. Our goalies played well. Junior Team President Andy Flax (#16 G) and Frehman Pat Bruce (#60 G) split halves and both played solidly in the net for us.
CSU B 9, CU B 1
The intensity for the game that was to follow this one got started when these Baby Buffs and Lambs got it on early in the afternoon. Our B team did an excellent job of dictating the tempo and it carried over to the A Team match up that came next. Spencer Morrison again made scoring goals look effortless as he tallied 4 of them in this one game to lead our way and on his way to 8 goal for the whole day. Team VP and twin of Andy, Jake Flax (Jr. #1 A) used his quickness to his advantage and scored twice against CU B, while Freshman Attackman Austin Fisher (#9 - A) from Rock Canyon, Colorado, had one goal and one assist. Throughout the day Austin demonstrated to us that it will be very difficult to keep him on any kind of CSU bench for very long. He just seems to make good things happen when he is on the field and in the mix. His Rock Canyon buddy, Tyler Zaber (Freshman - #26 D) is another that will play a lot as a rookie. We just have to find the right place for him because he, too, is too good to sit. I think he might also have gotten the wrong jersey number. He reminds me a little of a #17 we once had carrying a long pole around here.
This game didn’t ‘unfold’. We came down on them like a hammer, and this one was very close to being a shutout, as the Buffs didn’t score their lonely goal until the wee late time of the game. In some ways I look at this one as the best game of the six we as a program played during the day. It wasn’t perfect or anything, but almost everything we did in this, the fifth game of the day for CSU Lacrosse, had a positive affect on the overall team effort, from attitude to execution.
CSU 10, CU 4
This game had plenty of the legendary emotion that these two schools always display. It also had lots of flags and whistles. It was not the prettiest game of this or any day, but we put things in our perspective very early in the game. CU did make a run at us at one point, but they were never really in it for very long. Cooper capped a 7-goal, 3 assist day (3 games) with 3 goals and an assist. He has always had the great dodging and scoring abilities. He came here with them, but even though he was still quite sick with whatever that thing is that is going around, he was consistent all day and somewhat spectacular in this game. The great thing with Cooper now is that he is seeing the field in a very mature way, and that is reflected in the assists he is now sprinkling in to his point totals now. The sky is the limit for this kid and the skills that he brings to practice with him every single day. Maybe our biggest, most emotional goal of the entire day was a punctuation goal the Sophomore giant sized Attackman turned Middie, Steve Unkriich (#20 M) scored at one point I think early in the second half. He is not a Captain, but he will definitely be one of our leaders.
Our starting attack of Paul, Kevin, and Cooper combined for 7 of the 10 goals, but it was very much a team effort in all phases of the game as we established a new kind of dominance over the Buffs, at least on this day.
Alex Devlin (#45 M Freshman) played great all day. He brought his skills and great attitude all the way from Virginia. He had two goals in this game, and is one of the few freshman that have played on the Extra Man offense as a freshman, probably since Mike Napollili brought his talented left hand to me some 10 years ago.
Our leadership on the field is in good hands, and I would be remiss if I were not to mention Senior and Captain Travis Wrenn (#36 M), who fought a banged up shoulder for most of yesterday, but who is a lot of what the heart of this team appears to be all about. Travis is mostly a defensive short stick specialist, and he knows his role, but he works so hard to make himself a more complete player and person and that never stops when the whistle blows. I admire the approach he takes to pretty much everything.
This CSU team is a nice mix of youth and age. The team we have been calling young for the last couple of years has matured, and we did lose some great players to graduation. We also have a very strong incoming freshman class that showed itself pretty well yesterday for their first real time out.
The overall team picture became pretty clear as the day wore on, too. We have a small but ample coaching staff it would seem. We will miss Kale Nelson. The way Coach Alex Smith sort of scripted the six games for the 50 something players allowed for everyone to get ample opportunity to see and feel how they fit and what kind of personal roles they will hopefully build on and further develop over the next months and “Winter ball”.