Editor’s Note: Please welcome senior goalie and captain, Jake Springer of the Alabama Lacrosse team to MCLA Fan. He will be shedding some light on all things Tide Lacrosse throughout the season. Find out more on Alabama’s lacrosse program here and see of all Jake’s contributions here.
3 chicken biscuits, hash browns, 1 orange juice, 1 bottle of water and yes, that will complete my order.
A Business Trip without a phenomenal breakfast is simply a road trip. That’s not what I had in mind when I scheduled us to play LSU in the All-State Sugar Bowl Classic. I had a Business Trip in mind.
So did my teammates. From the opening face-off to the final whistle, Alabama wasted no time dispatching one of our most hated rivals.
It took us a while to get to that opening face-off though. An hour into the drive, our bus began to overheat and we were forced to pull over for 45 minutes. This gave freshman midfielder Alex Ternahan ample time to catch up to us. Ternahan overslept and missed the bus departure at 9am. Luckily, he drives like Danica and managed to catch up to us.
Missing the bus? Definitely business casual, Alex.
On the four-hour trek to New Orleans, we partook in an age-old tradition: “Story Time.” This involves each new player going to the front of the bus and providing the entire team with his best life-story. We do it on the first road trip of each season because it’s an important bonding experience and because they’re typically hysterical.
It helps us judge character, bravery, fortitude… well mostly lewdness, but sometimes those other attributes surface by mistake.
After a stop at Subway and some intermittent napping, we arrived at Pan-American stadium in New Orleans. The Granddaddy of them all. Well, at least the Granddaddy of Metairie, Louisiana.
Before the game, Coach Walker reminded us that this was what we’d been working for the past 5 weeks. All the running, the lunges, the obscure military fitness tests, they all led to this. We were prepared; now it was time to prove it.
LSU would never lead in the game.
The Tigers cut our lead to one goal twice in the second quarter, but each time our offense responded with goals in 40 seconds or less. Junior attackman Chris Palasek (Rocky Point, NY/ Rocky Point H.S.) led the the team with 4 goals and 2 assists. Freshman Chris Balla (Washington, DC/ St. John’s College H.S.) scored 4 goals in his first game while Alex Ternahan (Bethany Beach, DE/ Worcester Prep) added 3 goals and 2 assists in his Alabama debut.
Despite leading 6-2, halftime wasn’t celebratory. If anything, Coach Walker was mad. We weren’t converting many of our scoring chances, our stick work was sloppy, and our defense wasn’t communicating well enough. We got the message.
LSU would manage only two even-strength goals all game.
I recorded 17 saves and 4 goals against thanks to my defense. Defensemen Brandon Pugh (Jarrettsville, MD/ North Harford H.S.), Matt Leitner (Annapolis, MD/ Marriotts Ridge H.S.) and Teddy Manders (Potomac, MD/ Gonzaga College H.S.) harassed the LSU offense all night.
Going into the game, we knew LSU’s starting attackmen were 5’7”, 5’8” and 5’9”. Pugh is 6’0”, Leitner is 6’1” and Manders is 6’2”. All three were relentlessly aggressive with the undersized offense, especially Manders, who decleated an LSU midfielder only 6 minutes into the game.
With 4:45 left in the 3rd quarter, LSU would cut our lead to 8-4. That would be their fourth and final score. We finished with a 6-0 run to end the game and never looked back.
Ultimately, our difference maker was junior faceoff specialist Craig Landru (Rochester Hills, MI/ Eisenhower H.S.). Craig won 13/17 faceoffs and recorded 9 groundballs on the evening. Landru was named MVP of the game by the All-State Sugar Bowl committee.
Following the game, the team picked up two platters of Cajun jambalaya.
From there, Coach Walker released us into the wild that is the city of New Orleans. I would delve further into the team’s nocturnal exploits but, frankly, it’s none of my Business.
About Alabama Lacrosse
Alabama’s next game is at home this Saturday, Feb. 23rd at 6:00pm against Kentucky. For more information on the Crimson Tide, please visit TideLax.com, like us on Facebook at Alabama Lacrosse Club, or follow us on Twitter at @TideLax.
Many thanks to Baton Rouge photographer Barry Spears, who shot 3 of the images used in this week’s blog. You can check out more of Barry’s work here.