The Alabama Experience: Midseason Awards


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.

In previous editions of this blog, I’ve opined my hatred for schools, chirped about past victories, and provoked opponents (both intentionally and unintentionally). Now, a week after Georgia Tech emailed “Humble Pie” to their entire team, used it as motivation, and decidedly beat the tar out of us, I’m going to be a bit more docile.

For this week, at least.

I tried thinking of topics to cover for a couple days without much success. I’d love to write about a winning streak, but we aren’t on one. I’d love to write about our game against Georgia Tech, but I did that last week. I’d love to write about this weekend’s trip to the Sunshine state, but I really don’t want to provoke Florida State. At all.

Instead, I’m going to acknowledge some of the great play and great people around the SELC. More often than not, with 22 teams, many players are snubbed of well-deserved All-Conference recognition in our behemoth of a league. It’s unfortunate, but true. As a result, I decided made my own mid-season awards to recognize both team and individual achievements:

  1. Best Coached Team: Georgia Tech (Ken Lovic)

You could make a fair case that I’m biased because we just lost to them. But if you’ve seen these guys play this year, you’d agree with me. Crazy patience on offense, stifling defense, and all-around great lacrosse IQ at every position. I don’t think Tech is the most talented team in the SELC, but they are certainly the most cohesive unit and that starts with coaching. After playing them last week, it’s no surprise they are 10-2.

The Alabama Experience

  1. Best Place to Play an Away Game: Georgia (Athens, GA)

This one isn’t even close. Athens boasts the most bars per square mile of any city in the country and has a great live music scene. There is plenty of fun stuff to do in town, a lot of great food options downtown and a beautiful campus to boot. The UGA team is typically pretty friendly and they’ve been good sports in the past. Perhaps that’s because they keep beating us though…

The Alabama Experience

  1. Best Gear: South Carolina

Hard to beat garnet and white Nike uniforms, especially with the Palmetto state logo emblazoned on the back. You’ll find the Gamecocks gear has the crescent and the palm tree (SC state flag) all over their gear and it looks crisp.

The Alabama Experience

  1. Best Facilities: Florida State

Not many big southern universities have a turf field for club sports. Even fewer have one dedicated to the lacrosse team. The Noles (and the FSU band) have Coach Bill Harkins to thank for that gift.

The Alabama Experience

Individual Awards:

  1. Midseason Player of the Year: Trent Dean (Attack, Georgia)

He’s been simply unstoppable thus far and is a key reason Georgia is 8-0. Dean has 29 goals and 9 assists through 8 contests and has at least scored a hat trick in every game so far. How’s that for some consistency?

The Alabama Experience

  1. Nice Guy Award: Bill Binder (Attack, South Carolina)

Binder, USC’s president and leading scorer, couldn’t have been more genial in my interactions with him. Billy blindly extended an invite to our entire team to come hang out with the Gamecocks the Friday night after our game. Binder scored 6 goals on me (yikes) when we lost to USC, but always had something pleasant to say afterwards. [Golf clap]

The Alabama Experience

  1. Stonewall Jackson Award: Matt Sommerfeldt (Goalie, Georgia Tech)

Sommerfeldt has been having a ridiculous season so far. Teams simply can not score on him. Matt has posted a save percentage of 68.4% and is averaging an absurd 5 goals against per game. What’s even crazier is that Georgia Tech hasn’t allowed 10 goals to an opponent in a single game this season. If he keeps playing like this, Georgia Tech could make a run at the MCLA tournament.

The Alabama Experience

  1. Best Calves Award: Cam Weineke (Goalie, Alabama)

A dedicated gym rat, Weineke’s workout regimen hits calves 8 days a week. Seriously, the kid’s Gastrocs are steel-plated. Take a gander next time you play us, but don’t let him catch you staring.

  1. Biggest Meathead Award: Jimmy Peterson (Attack, Ole Miss)

At 6’4”, 240 lbs, this guy is simply enormous. He puts the “bull” in bull-dodge. Don’t believe me? Look at Ole Miss’ lacrosse poster (#7):

The Alabama Experience

  1. Hairiest Italian Award: Nick Loverde (Goalie, Ole Miss)

There’s a reason we used to call him “The Ewok” in high school (#3 in the poster above)

  1. Genes of Gold Award: Chris Palasek (Attack, Alabama)

Chris comes from a family where blue-chip laxers are the norm. Brother Tommy Palasek started for Syracuse last year as an attackman and now plays for the New York Lizards of the MLL. Matthew Palasek, originally at Hopkins, eventually went on to play for UMass. Ryan Palasek (yes, there’s another one) is a freshman defenseman for Syracuse now. It’s no surprise Chris has been our leading scorer every year he’s been at Alabama.

The Alabama Experience

  1. Best Flow Award: Matt Giannelli (Attack, Virginia Tech)

Arguably the best attackman in the SELC, Giannelli also boasts some seriously intimidating locks. Our guess is he uses Pantene Flo-V, but there’s no sure-fire way to tell. Flow on, Matthew.

The Alabama Experience

  1. Diaper Dandy Award: Michael Cusimano (Attack, Auburn)

In only 5 games as a freshman, Cusimano already has 23 goals and 10 assists. I got to see him play in New Orleans against UL-Lafayette and the kid put up 9 goals. Nine. Goals. We have the pleasure of facing him in the Iron Bowl on April 19th, but until then he is Vanderbilt’s, Ole Miss’, Georgia Tech’s and Georgia’s problem.

  1. Suns Out, Guns Out Award: Jake Griffith (Midfield, Alabama)

If the sun is shining, then it’s already too late for him. Griffith has been terrorized by the infamous Sleeve Monster numerous times over the years, and the incidents only increase as the weather gets warmer. What’s even more embarrassing is I found a picture of him without sleeves while also playing baseball. What a shoebie.

The Alabama Experience

That’s all I’ve got for now. This weekend, we’re headed down to Tampa and Tallahassee to play South Florida and Florida State. We’ll be on Spring Break so I’m giving the Alabama Experience a week-long reprieve. Until then, thanks for reading and I’ll see you in April.