Dustin Rich, the head men’s lacrosse coach at Missouri State University, stops by the MCLA Fan office for a quick rundown on what to expect from the Bears during the 2013 season. Missouri State competes in the Great Rivers Lacrosse Conference at the MCLA Division 2 level. Keep up to date with the Missouri State Lax homepage.
|What are 3 words that describe your team this year?|
|Hard Working, Tough, Dedicated|
|How many players tried out for the team this year?|
|Roster size by position|
|- Attack: 4
– Midfielders: 9
– Defenders: 7
– Goalies: 3
|Roster size by year in school|
|- Freshmen: 9
– Sophomores: 5
– Juniors: 5
– Seniors: 4
|Where do the majority of your players come from?|
|Cameron Bostwick (17) a junior attackmen from Des Moines, Iowa. Cameron is the drive and passion of the team. Cam had 20 goals and 2 assists in 2012. He is a great finisher. Cam led his high school team to a state semi-final finish and is a great leader for us this season. Cameron has a work ethic second to none and does a great job motivating everyone else on the field.
Dan Funk (5) is a sophomore long-pole specialist who hails from Eureka High School in Eureka, Missouri. Dan has quickly become one of the most talented players on the team, and is arguably the most talented pole I’ve ever seen at Missouri State. He can play in close, or on the face-off wing and does well wherever he’s at. He has a lethal ability as an on-ball defender and has the ability to run transition as well as any midfielder. Dan has been really fun to watch. In a time where everyone loves to watch offense, Funk stands out as a defensive player. Look for #5 to come up big for us this season.
Dino Cervantes (33) is a senior midfielder from De Smet High School in St. Louis, Missouri. Dino was a first team All-GRLC LSM last season, and converted to short-stick midfield this year. He has moved onto our man-up squad and runs on our first midfield line. Dino say little when he fails, and even less when he succeeds. He works hard and really does a nice job being a team player. Dino, along with all of our captains, help remind us that we are really about being humble, team guys.
|Can you tell us a little about your team’s goals for the upcoming season?|
|The short answer is the next game. We focus on the +1. The next game is always the most important. As far as what we will look at to evaluate success at the end of the year I would say we have a couple: win our conference in the regular season, win a GRLC Conference Championship, and do well with our out-of-conference schedule.
I think as a coaching staff we really focus on being smarter than the guys wearing khaki on the other side of the scorer’s table. We are lucky in that we are challenged with some really great coaches in this league: Andy Joly at Missouri Baptist, Tom Schmidt at Washington (MO) and now Dan Mertzluff at Lindenwood University – Belleville. As a coaching staff we always try to come up with the most effective game plan we can against some of these key match-ups. If our coaching staff does our job, you will see a different team wearing maroon and white every week.
|What’s one thing you’re most excited about?|
|I think the thing I am most excited about as a coach is seeing how our new attitude towards lacrosse will play out. We made it very clear in the beginning that this would be a tough team to play for. We push our guys to the limits every day in practice. We made it very clear from the start that this is not your regular “club” lacrosse team. We emphasize setting goals and working hard to accomplish those goals. For me, this is probably the most exciting thing.
I would say another area would be how we respond defensively. We have 3 goalies that very much compete for the starting spot. That’s where it starts. On top of that, we take a lot of pride in being sound defensively. We have a lot of different looks that we show teams: we run a couple zones, we like to be aggressive with 2-man games, and we will sometimes lock down players when we are man-down. I think it’s a really good unit, and we’re really going to try to make it tough for opposing teams to get good scoring chances.
|Who will be the toughest teams to play in your conference this year? Why?|
|Well it’s why you play the game right Herm? They’re all tough. We can’t afford to take off-days this spring. Missouri Baptist is always well disciplined and methodical. Washington University always has the capability to hurt you in transition. And this year we have Lindenwood – Belleville to contend with. They’re really the wild card. We don’t know a whole lot about them, and they played really well this fall, so we’ll see.|
|Are there any other MCLA programs that you would compare yours to?|
|It’s cliche, but I don’t think anyone. We have division I athletics at Missouri State, a level of academic excellence on par with the best colleges in the country, and we have the mentality of a varsity program. Where else can you get that? I would argue no where.|
|What’s your prediction for the 2013 MCLA Final Four?|
|The first thing they teach us in coaching school is that predicting is a dangerous business. If you’re going to twist my arm I guess the usual powerhouses like St. Thomas, Westminster and GVSU have to be mentioned. I’m really eager to see how Indiana Tech does and probably North Dakota State. I still say NDSU is the best off-ball team in the country. Is that a political enough answer? (EN: That was a perfect answer!)|