Editor’s Note: Please welcome junior midfielder, Vincent Rubino of the South Carolina Lacrosse team to MCLA Fan. He is here to give insight on the lacrosse program and what life is like as a Gamecock Lacrosse player. He is a Maryland native who enjoys lacrosse, tailgating, and is always avid about growing the game.
The University of South Carolina Men’s Lacrosse Team has seen an exponential amount of interest from prospective students over the past couple of seasons. Despite not actively recruiting, the team had nearly 100 kids compete to make the team the each of the last several fall seasons. Fall Ball is a great chance to get new players, whether freshmen or transfers, acclimated to the Carolina Lacrosse program and life at USC. While a more relaxed approach is taken through the beginning of the fall season, try-outs are still on every players mind.
Recent Gamecock Lacrosse alum Taylor Sones has been granted the reins of the program. Sones served as a midfielder for the first three years of his Gamecock career, before becoming a Long Stick Middie and team captain during his senior season. Sones embraced the challenge and was a vocal leader for the entire team in addition to leading the defense. His outstanding play led to him being recognized as the SELC 1st Team All-Conference LSM.
Having seen the transition of the program over the last four years, the Gamecocks believe Sones can identify where the program stands and where it wants to go. After long and competitive try-out, the Gamecocks have set their spring 2014 roster. With all the talented players that come out for the team, it gets increasingly difficult to finalize the roster every season. The team enjoyed a nice and relaxed Halloween Practice as the first full team practice.
A big focus for the Gamecock Lacrosse team this year is to give back to the community. USC teamed up with the National Marrow Donor Program, Be the Match, in order to help raise awareness in the Carolina Community. The team was able to add 92 more people to the marrow registry bank and it was a great experience for all players who participated and helped run the event. We would like to issue a big thanks to Be the Match for helping us run such a smooth event and a thank you to all the members in the Carolina Community who participated in the event.
Along with Coach Sones, a few of the Gamecock players traveled out to the North East side of Columbia to help out with an up and coming youth organization, the Midland Mallards. The Gamecocks are always about growing the game. The Mallards went full speed every second and made it a great event to help out with. We hope they had just as good of a time as we did helping them out.
Carolina got its first taste of out of conference competition when it traveled up to Clemson for a weekend round-robin with Virginia Tech, College of Charleston, SCAD and Clemson Nov. 9th and 10th. The tournament gave the Gamecocks a taste of new blood after beating on each other for the past two and a half months. When the Gamecocks arrived to the field early Saturday morning, they were treated with a field full of frost and rather low temperatures compared to Columbia.
Like the weather, the Gamecocks started off a little colder than they would have liked in their first scrimmage against Virginia Tech. Despite getting several good lucks and shots on an early EMO, Tech drew first blood and wouldn’t look back for the remainder of the first quarter. Carolina would eventually settle in, get some scoring going, and get a lot of looks from younger players. After the eye-opening scrimmage against Virginia Tech, the Gamecocks brushed off the cob webs and were able to seal large margined victories of College of Charleston and SCAD before their final scrimmage against rival Clemson.
The tangle with the Tigers was nothing less than a nail biter. Both teams battled back and forth throughout the game and the Gamecocks found themselves trailing with around 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter until the ‘Cocks found the back of the net to tie the game. Carolina scored again with just 25 seconds remaining on the clock. Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, the Tigers found the back of the net with just 3 seconds left. Since the match up was merely a fall scrimmage, it took several minutes for the coaches and referees to figure out that both teams would not settle for a tie and the game headed to overtime. The tigers notched the game winner in the first OT, ending the sudden death match.
Despite having a bitter taste in its mouths, South Carolina got great looks from every player throughout all four games. The Gamecocks had merely two practices as an actual team before heading to the round-robin. South Carolina will take this as a learning experience and head into the spring with a chip on their shoulder.
The Gamecock’s hosted their first annual (or first in a long while) Gamecock Lacrosse Alumni weekend Nov. 15-17th. The weekend started off with an alumni game on Friday night with the current team playing against the alumni. The event had an awesome alumni turnout dating back to the 1970’s. Gamecocks past and present had a meet and greet after the game and all were invited to the team tailgate before the football game against the Florida Gators. Thank you to everyone who came out to make this a great event!