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.
Warning: the following blog contains graphic images of mustaches. If you are squeamish, have small children around you, or didn’t enjoy the 80’s, I strongly suggest you close your web browser immediately.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the Alabama Experience was on Spring Break last week. Being the snowbird I am, the only natural course of action was to head further South to Florida. We had two games on the docket. Up first was USF, a team we hadn’t faced since my freshman year in 2010 (we lost 7-6 in Tuscaloosa).
We departed Friday March 22nd for the migration to Beach Country. 11 hours, 3 movies, 2 meals later, and dozens of NCAA tournament games later, we arrived at our hotel in Tampa, FL. After 11 hours of driving, one would assume we were happy to get off the bus and into our beds.
We stayed at the Rodeway Inn, a suspiciously dirty establishment about 3 miles from USF’s campus. I remained optimistic as we stumbled off the bus. This place can’t be ‘that’ bad. Oh, but it was. I can’t tell you anything about the place that you can’t find out for yourself with a quick Google search.
The Inn has a 1/30 rating on Trip Advisor.
The first review I found was titled, “Prostitute House.”
Another review claimed room 201 used to be a meth lab. But that’s cool I guess, because we were on the third floor anyway.
The next morning, we eagerly left the vile dumpster that was our hotel and killed some time before our USF game at 7pm. We went on a team tour of the Yuengling brewery at 10am. A delightful British tour guide led us through the vats and fermentation silos of the brewery, with the occasional barb at Chris Palasek (who inexplicably decided to wear a Budweiser shirt).
Those of you skeptical of Coach Walker’s decision to take us on the tour can rest easy. 90% of our team is under-age, and therefore couldn’t enjoy the free samples following the tour. Instead of making questionable decisions on a beach somewhere in Florida, these boys learned valuable life lessons like which hops are needed for a darker ale. So, if anything, Coach Walker is a humanitarian.
The game that night was tough. You might think because we’re “Alabama” that we are used to playing in humidity. Well, we aren’t, at least not the kind we faced in Tampa. We were sweating profusely before our warmups even began. We jumped out to a 4-1 lead over the Bulls, but things went down hill from there. Our best faceoff middie, Craig Landru, reinjured his shoulder midway through the first quarter. We got slaughtered at the x from there on out, going 7-28 on faceoffs. This wasn’t as much ineptitude on our part as it was skill on USF’s part. They deserve a lot of credit for getting the ball to their wings with ease and, when we made adjustments to stop that, they simply began to pop and go at will. The difficulties we faced at the x weren’t aided by my off-game in the net. 5 goals from Chris Palasek weren’t enough to power us past the Bulls and eventually, we lost 16-11.
The following day, the team headed to Clearwater Beach to take our minds off the loss. The day at the beach was a perfect chance for us to implement the Buddy System. For those of you unfamiliar with the Buddy System, I fear you are unfamiliar with the greatest Disney film of all time, “Heavyweights.”
Let me refresh your memory:
Thanks to the Buddy System, we didn’t lose anyone that day. Everyone just got really sunburnt and fell asleep the second we returned home to the set of “Hostel.”
The next day was spent cruising up to Tallahassee to play Florida State. The Noles dispatched us handily in both of our games last year, so we hoped to run with them this time. Unfortunately, a myriad of shoulder injuries (4 in total), and our inability to stop their transition game put us in an early hole. After closing the game to 8-4 before the half, they got two quick goals and essentially coasted the rest of the way.
On a side note, things got interesting in the fourth quarter, when FSU’s Head Coach was ejected, their sideline received a bench penalty, and they also accumulated 2 penalties on the field. The subsequent 6 on 3 we enjoyed lasted 3 minutes, which was pretty amusing because it looked like a 4v3 drill gone haywire. Although we fell 20-11, that was arguably some of the most fun we’ve had all season. Guys like Jake Griffith and Colin Kruger were burying some great outside shots. On a side note, Matt “Hocus Pocus” McCormack (#32) scored the most bizarre goal I’ve ever seen (1:55 in the video).
Despite the two losses, the Spring Break was a success for a number of reasons. Our team chemistry is much better now. Despite missing a number of starters on the defensive end, I was still proud of some of the younger guys that stepped in for us. Also, the trip to Yuengling, the day at Clearwater, and of course the success of the Buddy System will not soon be forgotten.
This week we return from break to a strong divisional opponent: Georgia. At 9-1, the Dawgs have been steamrolling through our conference this season. They have traditionally been our toughest divisional game and the fact that we’ve never beaten them before is a testament to that. Looking at our 3-6 record, an upset over UGA might seem impossible. But I beg to differ. Clemson accomplished that feat no more than a week ago.
Our scouting report tells us that UGA has some great attackmen, they are patient and efficient on offense, and their goalie is very talented. It also tells us they are quite adept at growing mustaches. Sensational mustaches at that.
Things could get hairy in Tuscaloosa on Friday night.