Getting the first win was huge for us, more so just to make sure that we had a great fan base come out to support us. We wanted to make sure we put on a good show for them and give them a good team to support here in Ohio. Playing with the best lacrosse players in the world and playing against them is an amazing experience. To be recognized for the performance is an extreme honor and I’m privileged to have been selected for this award.
Being that it’s the Machine’s first year in the league. We would love to hear your thoughts about playing for an expansion team.
I played college lacrosse out here in Ohio, so I am lucky enough to have a little bit of experience with the fan base out here. We have really loyal fans in Ohio and I know the more exposure they get to the game, the more people we’re going to have at our games. Our league is lucky in the way they set it up with the expansion draft. Even though we are an expansion team, we have a lot of veteran players that have been in the league for a long time. We have great leadership in our coach and GM, who did a great job in picking up character-based players and team-oriented players, so we’ve been gelling really well together. I think the sky’s the limit for us. I think that the more we play and come together as a team the better were going to be and the tougher were going to be for other teams to play.
You started off your collegiate lacrosse career at Onondaga Community College, where you won a National Championship, then continued playing lacrosse at Ohio State. What was it like making that switch from Junior College to Division I and now to MLL?
My freshman year we made the Final Four for the first time in school history, but came up short. My sophomore year we won the first National Championship in school history. They just won their 4thNational Championship in a row this year. Six out of seven. So they’ve had tremendous success in the past seven years. They have great coaches there and a couple of my buddies that I played with are coaching there now. I hope they continue success there. I was lucky enough to transfer to Ohio State after that, which was a huge honor to be able to play lacrosse at such a prestigious school. Just to see the growth of the game at the youth level in the past couple of years from when I was in college to now is incredible.
Growing up and even through high school I played on a lot of travel teams with and against a lot of great players. The speed of the game from Junior College to DI is a little bit different. I already had a pretty good experience playing with and against a lot of those guys. I was lucky enough that in my sophomore year at Onondaga, we had quite a few players like Cody Jamieson and Sid Smith and Nick Gotta. Our whole starting 10 or 15, half of those guys are playing professional lacrosse right now. Even though we were a Junior College team we had the talent level to play with just about anyone in the country. That definitely made the transition easier coming from Junior College to DI. The competition in DI week in and week out can’t be beat though without a doubt.
You were traded to the Machine from the Rochester Rattlers in 2011 along with Greg Bice, Brett Garber, and Anthony Kelly. What is it like getting to continue your MLL career with guys that you started your career with?
It’s a great honor especially Bice and Kelly, who are two Buckeye alums like myself. So to be able to follow along under their wing and learn from their experience and hear some of their stories from their past experience in the league has been huge. This has been an honor to be able to play for coach Garber out here too. And I’m very appreciative of my opportunity of being able to play. It has helped my transition, as well with the expansion, having familiar faces with a lot of the guys on the team. A lot of the guys have played with or against each other before and that has definitely helped us in being able to gel easier.
Along with Bice and Kelly and several other of your Ohio Machine teammates, you work with Resolute Lacrosse. Can you tell us a little bit more about the company and what you do there?
We work with all different age levels in youth programs. We actually just started our first girls teams. We provide camps for youth players and we have travel teams. We're trying to get these kids exposure to college coaches and also help improve their game, lacrosse IQ, and fundamentals. We're trying to give them a good experience and hopefully they make good friends along the way.
What do you think about how the game is exploding in popularity?
The growth at the high school level has been a couple hundred percent each year. It’s pretty ridiculous how fast the game is growing across the country. I think that’s only going to continue the growth of the game with more and more youth players coming up. There are more and more opportunities for players and coaches. There are more players on Division I rosters across the country. There are more schools popping with lacrosse teams. I feel like the more youth players get involved and the more the game spreads, the faster and more the game is going to grow. I think eventually it’s going to grow internationally as well. It’s a great sport, it's great camaraderie and competition and it’s really exciting to play and watch. Anyone who goes to a lacrosse game is going to fall in love with the game. I see it continuing to grow at the rate that it is.
LIGHTNING ROUNDWhat is your favorite pump up song on your iPod?
Led zeppelin going to California live version
Favorite sports movie
Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?
Mellow music, stretching, light warming, quick intense shoot around right before the game to get intensity up
Beach or Mountains?
Beach I didn’t grow up near the beach
Favorite MLL city to play in?
Denver in mile high stadium broncos fan
The Ohio Machine will travel to the Long Island Lizards on Friday, June 1 at 7:00 p.m. ET at James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, NY. The game will be available live on ESPN3. Click here for syndicated listings.
2012 MLL All-Star Game presented by Moe's Southwest Grill
MLL will host its marquee event in Palm Beach County, FL this year on Saturday, June 30! To buy your tickets now, click here. To learn more about the 2012 MLL All-Star Game presented by Moe's Southwest Grill, click here. The 2012 MLL All-Star Game will feature the best lacrosse players in the world, all on one field and will be aired live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.