Over the past several years, the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois have been a very competitive team, consistently ending the season as one of the top teams of the GRLC and even making a trip to Nationals two out of the last three years. Now with new Head Coach Ben Coughlin at the helm, there is sure to be some talk as to how the Illini will perform in the upcoming season.
Ben Coughlin hails from Kansas State University where he also played lacrosse for their MCLA D1 squad. Coach Coughlin studied studied psychology and sociology at K-State, learning about cultures, societies and people from around the world. He has developed several ideas from what he learned in school and his looking to apply them to the lacrosse team. Combine this with the four years he spent as a Naval Officer, Coach Coughlin definitely brings a lot to the table for the Illini.
Keep an eye out for more from Coach Coughlin in the upcoming season as he works towards another successful season in Champaign. In the meantime, let’s meet some of the 2013 University of Illinois lacrosse players.
Sam Weinstein-JR-A: Weinstein, I would say, is near the top of the list when it comes to attack. He has excellent feeding abilities and he can pick a part a defense when he’s in the groove. He’s quick and change directioin very well, especially behind the cage. He’s also a good finisher around the crease.
Collin Chatten-SO-A: Collin is extremely creative with his stick. Reminds me of Mark Matthews from Denver. Creative and consistent finisher on the crease.
Ryan Walker-FR-A: Ryan is probably on of our most athetic kids on the team. Quick and and evade pressure and is very shifty in the open field. Needs to improve on his finishing but he gets to the right spot and gives himself opportunities to finish so thats half the battle.
Kyle Blouin-SR-M: Kyle has emerges as one of our vocal leaders which is important to have. Especially in a senior. He is strong on offense and defense and a threat to score or create a play from wherever.
Nate Coburn-SR-M: Coburn has also emerged as one of our vocal leaders. And he is also a senior which is good. He will win 62% of his face-off this year which will increase our chances of scoring thus increasing our chances of winning.
Max Mohr-SO-M: Max is the fastest kid on the team. Or at least the quickest. He will burn you from the top or he will shake you inside the box. He will create and draw slides. Max makes it difficult for defenders to get in an ideal position to defend him. He will need to be durable. He will get alot of desperate checks and draw a hard slide.
Jack Wright-FR-M: Jack Wright really surprised me, and the team I think, at how well he can play when he gets it goin. I would say he was a shy player who is not shy anymore. Which will be important for his confidence as he develops.
Kevin Forde-SR-M: Forde will be an effective weapon for us and he is becoming one of the hardest working players on the team.
Mark Roselli-JR-M: Mark is one of our quietest kids but he is very knowldegeable in how to play lacrosse. He is aware not only of himself but of the other 5 offensive players.
Connor Murphy-FR-D: Connor Murphy is a very confident player, thats the first thing. Big kid too (maybe 6’3″ 220). He will be a consistent defensemen for us and can handle a ball surpsrisingly well.
Mike Grutsch-SR-D: Grutsch is a big and aggressive kid. He will go after you and he will get on your hands and you will lose the ball.
Peter Reilly-SO-D: Smart is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about Peter. He’s not going to beat himself while he’s defending you. He’s not overly aggressive but he will wait for you to make a mistake and then he will get the ground ball.
Nate Schuler-JR-D: Nate will run at LSM primarily but he can play close as well. Nate can get up and down the field like a hybrid close defender. Brian Farrell from Maryland comes to mind when I think of Schuler.
Matt Walker-SR-G: Matt is an extremely confident and relaxed goaltender who will get on a guy if he is out of position. He has the team’s respect and they listen to him. He’s a good on field leader and leads our defense in practice when we split up into offense/defense.
Nick Reinber-SO-G: Nick played D3 at Hood college in Maryland so he brings his knowledge and experience from that. He’s very talkative on the field too and informs the defense whats going on.
Strength: Defense. We have big and aggressive poles that will harass you if you have the ball making it difficult for opponents to get comfortable in their set.
Players to Watch: Kyle Blouin-SR-M: His leadership will be a driving force for this team. He’s also pretty good at scoring goals. Nate Coburn-SR-M: His leadership, much like Kyle’s, will be a driving force for this team. His dominance at the face-off will allow us more possesions in a game too.
Great stuff Coach, good luck this season! We are very excited to get the chance to follow around Coach Coughlin and the Illini this spring and share their story with you.