Editor’s Note: Kyle Stinchcomb is back on MCLAFan with another update via the Clemson Tigers Men’s Lacrosse Blog. Clemson had been having a banner year, but ran into a buzz saw named Tennessee in the SELC playoffs. Here is Kyle’s end of year Clemson Lacrosse recap!
Well for anyone that doesn’t keep up with MCLA scores, Tennessee upset us in the first round of the SELC tournament. This loss effectively ended our season, leaving us with a 15-5 record, no SELC title, and no bid to go to Greenville for the MCLA tourney.
It’s a disappointing way to end the season; there’s no way around it. To lose to a team we shouldn’t lose to is a terrible feeling but hats off to Tennessee for playing a phenomenal game. It seemed as if every shot they took pinged a corner and as if their goalie was impenetrable.
When your season ends unexpectedly and not in the manner you hoped there’s a pretty big mix of emotions that go into it. I think I speak for everyone on the team when I say the worst part is that we couldn’t send the seniors out on top. Those guys grinded it out for the past four years, taking this program to new heights and they’re ending their careers with a first round conference tournament loss. That hurts. A lot. But life goes on and it’s not all negative. The seniors go out with the most wins in school history and with our first ever trip out West being a major success.
This season had a lot of ups and downs. At our highest points, we dominated Florida State, beat Colorado on their own home field and were at one point ranked as high as #12 in the MCLA poll. In terms of lows, we let games against V. Tech and Buffalo slip away, got blown out at home by Georgia and got upset in the first round of the conference tournament. There’s a lot to take away from all of those experiences.
The seniors go out taking this program to new levels and accomplishing a lot of things to be proud of. I think the best part is that they’re all better people then they are lacrosse players. It was an honor to play with and be friends with them. Here’s a run down of what they’ll all be up to because unfortunately, they’re all going pro in something other than sports.
Will Patch, a senior captain, will be graduating Clemson with a Financial Management degree. Will was an MCLA All-American honorable mention last year and one of the best attack men I’ve ever played with. Ask any goalie that’s played against him about his shot and I think the general consensus is that it’s pretty tough to save. Will’s season came to an unfortunate end two weeks ago when he went down with an ACL and MCL tear against Auburn. It was tough to see him end his career like that but he’s leaving with a lot to be proud of. His quirky phrases and sense of humor are something I’ll be missing next year, along with our conversations about the finer parts of Financial Management. “If we’re talking Finance, right now we’re in the money”. Will was First team all SELC attack this season, adding on to his multiple awards from previous years.
Jon Kilbourne, another co-captain, is graduating Clemson with a History degree and hopes of working in a political or government office. I had the pleasure of taking a political science class with Jon this semester and he certainly knows his stuff (he got an A). John was one of our best midfielders this year, with a cannon of a shot and a crushing bull dodge. Kilbourne made First Team all SELC midfield and is also an MCLA scholar athlete this year.
Dan “Hooty” Huettenmoser will be graduating this December with a civil engineering degree after a successful career in both academics and lacrosse. Another one of our first line midfielders, Dan was an integral part of our offense with a strong ability to dodge and shoot. Dan hails from the town next door to me in New Jersey and it was cool to have someone on the team who grew up where I grew up. Not only does he have the freshest whip on the team (Escalade on 22’s), Dan knows how to keep things fun. Hopefully he’ll be around for fall ball to pass his wisdom onto our new freshman.
Will Fochtmann graduates this semester with an engineering degree and already has a full time job with Ernst and Young. Will really did a lot off the field to advance the team during his time as team president back in 2010. Not only did he have success there, but also he came up big in key moments for us this year. He had a key goal against Colorado in boulder and was a staple on the first two lines of midfield all year for us.
Brian Livingston is graduating with a History degree and a very high score on the LSAT’s. I believe he’s interning this summer in Nicaragua. He’s unsure of what he’s going to do yet but with his smarts I’m sure he’ll find success as whatever he chooses. Brian was a great SSDM for us and always had a lot of fun. I take things pretty seriously at times but Brian always kept things in perspective for me.
Chris Buechele is graduating with a Political Science degree and will continue his academic career at law school next year. Chris was one of our best attackmen these past two years and is currently hovering around the top of the MCLA scorers list. Chris always worked hard and helped to facilitate the offense. He’s another offensive presence that will be missed next year after piling up the points this year. I worked out with Chris and Livingston all of fall and it looks like I’ll have to find new partners this year. Chris joins Patch on First Team all SELC attack and was also named SELC Offensive Player of the Year.
Will Thiede is another December graduate and will be graduating with a degree in Management. Will, in my opinion, was the best SSDM I’ve ever played with or against. It was devastating to see him go down with a broken wrist against Colorado, but he continued to help coach up the defense with his extensive lacrosse knowledge. Hopefully he’ll be around in the fall to help coach us up and pass his wisdom on to the next round of defensive players. Thiede was Honorable Mention all SELC SSDM and I suspect he might have been higher had his season not ended early with injury.
Will Harris is another senior attackman who will be graduating this semester. Will had a career day against Nebraska out in Boulder and always worked hard in practice. Will also has the distinction of being the only one on the team who ever uses traditional mesh.
Bobby Liethhoff will be graduating this semester with an English degree. Bobby sat out this season with stress fractures in his legs and was unable to play.
That’s all for the seniors. When reading over those bios it’s clear that they’re a talented group and that they’ll be missed both off and on the field.
I wish I had some more time to play with these guys but unfortunately, that’s not how sports teams work. The seniors are moving on to the next phase of their life and we’ll continue to continue what they’ve started in Clemson. Next year will be an interesting season and hopefully a successful one at that.
Our offense will have a new identity and our defense will be completely stacked. I think we as underclassmen have learned a lot this year from the experiences we went through and we’ll use them to grow as a team for next year. The only thing we can do is going back to work and chase that ever-elusive SELC title. It certainly won’t be handed to us and our hard work is the only thing that can help us achieve that.
Well, that ends our season, and thus my writing for the time being. It’s weird to think that I’m halfway done with college already (hopefully, right, mom and dad?).
If you’re going to be at the Powerball Lacrosse tournament in Atlantic City, NJ this summer, keep an eye out for team Bakerz Dozen. It’s littered with current and former Tigers and I’ll be there.
Maybe I’ll be back next year to continue to document the events that happen in Clemson Lacrosse. We will be back next year in the MCLA and we’ll be stronger then ever.
Follow us @ClemsonLacrosse on Twitter in the off season, and until next time, Laxallstars.com!