It was recently brought to our attention via the LAS facebook page that there is a group of young gentlemen out west playing some good ol’ ironman lacrosse.
Now, the Willamette University Bearcats are not the first team to play with only 10 guys. Nor will they be the last. They are, however, the first in the MCLA to do it succesfully.
The Bearcats opened their season almost two weeks ago. With 10 guys showing up to play, they won 12-10 over Humboldt State.
The next week, they did it again. This time it was Central Washington suffering a 16-15 defeat. The success on the field wouldn’t follow them to their game the next day. Willamette lost 13-5 to Gonzaga.
I recently got a chance to sit down with MCLAfan’s own Will Patton, an assistant coach for Willamette, to find out a little bit more about the MCLA’s only iron men.
10 guys? How many showed up for first practice/tryouts?
We have 13 guys right now that are actively practicing. There were three guys that were abroad in the fall (studying abroad is a big part of our school’s academic offering) who played last season, and when they returned they chose not to play. That really hurt our numbers. We had two guys miss for academic reasons and one missed for sickness the most recent trip.
How many of your guys are playing out of position?
Shockingly only 1 person is playing out of position: Sean Harding our goalie. Sean was a 1st team all PNCLL defender in 2010, and was the one who bit the bullet to step in cage when our sophomore goalie dropped out of school. We put midfielder Tim Christian in cage in the 2nd half of our Gonzaga game to rest him up some (he’s our FO guy). And of course when Sean played a half at his natural position, defense, he scored a goal.
Do you feel the short turnaround of your weekend games does more harm for your team or is it a good thing, i.e. keeping your guys somewhat warmed up?
I don’t really know how the turnaround affected the guys, we came out flat against Gonzaga but that could’ve been due to the 11AM start time which is earlier than normal. I don’t believe playing ironman two days in a row is fun for any human body, so it wasn’t a surprise that we had a big physical let down against Gonzaga.
Do you feel Ian McAnnis-Entenman’s numbers are somewhat inflated by the fact he’s your only true attackman?
Ian McAnnis-Entenman is a guy that I can’t say enough good things about. He is a coach’s dream, someone who literally gives 110% on every play, in game AND in practice.
To relate to his numbers, I’d argue that if we had our couple of subs that his numbers would be even higher. Right now we have two first year players playing short-stick middie, and they aren’t as much of an offensive threat. Ian is drawing every team’s best defenders, and if you saw our game film you’d see he is drawing two and three slides when he so much as glances at cage.
People on the forums criticized Ian as being injury prone. Ian is an amateur athlete who tore his ACL when he was rolled up on by an opposing defenseman. There is absolutely no reason for criticism. I know Ian took those words to heart. Ian wants his play to speak for itself. Pure talent doesn’t inflate stats, ever.
Does being the only ironman team in the MCLA put somewhat of a target on your back?
The cat is out of the bag: we’re capable of showing up with only 10. NO ONE wants to lose to a team with no subs. And it’s happened twice now.
Any prospect of getting more players as the season progresses?
Our roster will likely end up with 14-16 guys. The sad reality of club ball is that the university does not provide the impetus to devote time to the team. The coaches must provide that motivation. We have a new head coach, Kyle Tolzman, who has not only changed practice habits (for the better), but has also changed the outlook. Winning two games playing ironman is the ultimate hallmark of moving toward Coach Tolzman’s vision of where this team can be.
The funniest part of all of this, is if we show up with 12, teams will still say, “Oh that’s so sad they only have 12.” But we will be saying to ourselves, “The cavalry is here. There is no way we can lose today.”
Willamette’s next games are this upcoming weekend. They travel to face Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound. Game times are 1PM Saturday and 12PM Sunday, respectively.
(All photos courtesy of Willamette Lacrosse)