Howard CC vs Nassau CC (2018 NJCAA Men’s Lacrosse)

Howard CC vs Nassau CC (2018 NJCAA Men’s Lacrosse)

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NJCAA LACROSSE IS BACK. TWO TOP FIVE PROGRAMS, NOT MESSING AROUND. HOWARD COMMUNITY COLLEGE, NASSAU COMMUNITY
COLLEGE, OPENING 2018 WITH A HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED NON-CONFERENCE SHOWDOWN. HOWARD’S RANKED NUMBER TWO IN THE PRESEASON
POLL. COACH FOUST’S DRAGONS RETURN 12 PLAYERS
FROM LAST YEAR’S TEAM, WHO LED THE PROGRAM TO ITS BEST FINISH TO DATE. NASSAU, THE 11-TIME DEFENDING REGION 15 CHAMPION,
ENTERS 2018 RANKED FOURTH IN THE PRESEASON POLL. THE LIONS’ ROSTER FEATURES 19 SOPHOMORES. THE LAST TWO GAMES IN THE HOWARD-NASSAU SERIES
HAVE BEEN DECIDED BY ONE GOAL. HOWARD WON ON LONG ISLAND IN LAST YEAR’S
MEETING. NASSAU SCORED AN OVERTIME WIN IN COLUMBIA
BACK IN 2016. FIRST QUARTER, DIII LYNCHBURG TRANSFER WILL
SMITH, GOING HARD IN THE PAINT, GOAL NUMBER ONE FOR THE DRAGON CAPTAIN. SMITH GOES BACK TO WORK BEHIND THE GOAL. HOWARD SNAPS NASSAU’S HEAD BACK, 2-NOTHING
LEAD FOR THE DEFENDING REGION XX CHAMPION. LIONS JUST RAN OUT A HOWARD MISSED SHOT, AND
THE DRAGONS ARE HIT WITH A ONE-MINUTE PENALTY ON THE RIDE. ENSUING EXTRA MAN, NASSAU TAKES ADVANTAGE. ASSISTED GOAL FOR THE LIONS’ MAN-UP OFFENSE. HOWARD, RIDING AGGRESSIVELY, BUT THERE’S
ANOTHER PENALTY. 4 FIRST HALF FLAGS AGAINST THE DRAGONS. LIONS DIDN’T SCORE ON EVERY EXTRA MAN, BUT
THE UNFORCED ERRORS HELPED NASSAU FIND ITS LEGS AND SETTLE IN. EVAN KILLEN GOES LEFT AND FINDS A HOME FOR
HIS BOUNCE SHOT. NASSAU RESPONDS. TWO MINUTES TILL THE HALF. TIED AT THREE, EDDIE MUNOZ, OPEN, GIVES NASSAU
ITS FIRST LEAD OF THE CONTEST. NASSAU WON THE FACE-OFF, LIONS OFFENSE GETS
THE BETTER OF HOWARD’S DEFENSE ONCE AGAIN. NASSAU NETS THREE UNANSWERED TO TAKE CONTROL. SECOND HALF, MAN-UP CHANCE FOR HOWARD, MARTIN
CONNECTS WITH FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN IAN DECKER. AND HE BURIES IT WITH HIS LEFT. NASSAU’S EXTRA MAN OFFENSE IS BACK ON THE
FIELD, ANOTHER GOOD LOOK IN THE MIDDLE, BUT DIII STEVENSON TRANSFER TJ ELLIS MAKES THE
SAVE AND CONTROLS THE REBOUND. DECKER WORKING FROM BEHIND, BILLY KELLY WITH
THE SAVE, BUT SMITH NABS THE REBOUND AND TIES THE GAME. DRAGONS RESPOND WITH A STATEMENT OF THEIR
OWN. FINAL SECONDS OF THE THIRD QUARTER, CHRIS
RINEHART OFF THE RESTART, FEEDS AUSTIN NORTON ON THE CREASE. BILLY KELLY! MAKES THE PLAY AND DENIES THE NORTON AT THE
MOMENT OF TRUTH. 24 SAVE DAY FOR THE SOPHOMORE GOALIE. 13 MINUTES REMAINING IN THE FOURTH, DECKER
DRAWS THE SLIDE, ALLEY-OOP TO WILL SMITH, CHANGES PLANES AND HOWARD RECLAIMS THE LEAD. DECKER AND 27 IN BLUE BRIAN SCHAEFER, MIX
IT UP ONCE AGAIN, DECKER TAKES THREE HITS TRYING TO INCREASE HIS ANGLE. IMPORTANT MOMENT IN THE STORY OF THIS GAME,
JAKE PYKE RIDING…. HITS KELLY, DRAWS THE FLAG, ONE-MINUTE ILLEGAL
BODY PENALTY. ENSUING EXTRA MAN, CHENG’S SHOT IS SAVED,
JACK MULLEN JUMPS ON THE LOOSE BALL AND PUNCHES IT IN. AND, THE DRAGONS ARE HIT WITH ANOTHER
PENALTY. DRAGON CAPTAINS WILL SMITH AND IAN DECKER,
WEEK ONE CHEMISTRY. THEY CATCH THE LIONS BALL WATCHING. DRAGONS, BACK IN FRONT. NEXT FACE-OFF, JOHNSON WINS IT, NASSAU, THRIVING
IN THE UNSETTLED SITUATION, TREMENDOUS ASSIST AND MULLEN, ABLE TO EXECUTE ON THE DOORSTEP. 6 MINUTES REMAINING, LIONS BACK ON OFFENSE,
AND THEY COUNTER WITH TWO UNANSWERED FOURTH QUARTER GOALS TO TAKE THE LEAD. AFTER A HOWARD FACE-OFF VIOLATION, NASSAU
HAS THE HOME TEAM ON THE ROPES. WITH 5:14 TO PLAY, NASSAU IS IN THE DRIVER’S
SEAT. THREE MINUTES NOW, THE DRAGONS GO TO SMITH
ON THE CREASE. CAN’T CONNECT. BIGGEST GROUND BALL OF THE GAME, AND BLUE
COMES UP WITH IT. DRAGONS GET THE BALL BACK, DECKER FINDS JAKE
POLINSKY. DENIED BY BILLY KELLY. AFTER EACH TEAM RECEIVED A ONE-MINUTE PENALTY,
WE’RE 5-ON-5, WITH FIVE SECONDS TO GO. MARTIN! SCORES! KEEPS HOPE ALIVE. BUT TIME WOULD RUN OUT ON THE DRAGONS. NASSAU COMES DOWN TO COLUMBIA, MARYLAND AND
GETS A BIG NON-CONFERENCE WIN. 9-8 NASSAU IS YOUR FINAL. MATT: JESSE, TOUGH LOSS TODAY AGAINST NASSAU. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS FOLLOWING THIS ONE
GOAL CONTEST? JESSE: WELL, TODAY WE KIND OF FOUGHT TOGETHER
I MEAN. WE, UP AND DOWN THE FIELD WE WERE RUNNING
THE WHOLE TIME, NEVER REALLY PLAYING SELFISH. I MEAN, THERE WAS SOME CHIPPY CALLS, THERE
WERE SOME CHIPPY PLAYS ON OUR PART BUT, OVERALL I THINK WE PLAYED WELL TOGETHER. AND, YOU KNOW, IT’S A TOUGH LOSS BUT, IT’S
THE FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON SO, THERE’S MUCH MORE TO COME. MATT: TALK ABOUT THE WHOLE MINDSET OF THE
TEAM OPENING UP AGAINST NASSAU. I KNOW COACH WAS TELLING US THAT, HE THOUGHT
THAT WOULD REALLY UP THE TEMPO IN PRACTICE. DO YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY? JESSE: DEFINITELY. OUR MINDSET IN THE BEGINNING OF THE GAME WAS,
WE DIDN’T CARE WHO WE WERE PLAYING OR WHERE WE WERE PLAYING OR WHAT WE’RE PLAYING IN,
LIKE THIS RAIN. WE WERE JUST GOING OUT THERE, PLAYING FOR
EACH OTHER AND HOPEFULLY WE’D COME OUT WITH THE WIN. MATT: SO, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CAMARADERIE
ON THE TEAM AND HOW EVERYBODY IS STICKING TOGETHER DO YOU THINK RIGHT NOW IS, IT’S
WHERE IT NEEDS TO BE? JESSE: DEFINITELY. AFTER, AFTER A TOUGH LOSS YOU KNOW, EVEN I
HAD MY HEAD DOWN COUPLE OF THE TEAMMATES HAD MY HEAD, HAD THEIR HEADS DOWN. AND, JUST, ONE ANOTHER COMING UP TO EACH OTHER
AND HELPING EACH OTHER OUT AND SAYING “EVERYTHING’S OKAY” YOU KNOW, FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON,
YOU DID WELL. YOU KNOW, JUST STAYING BROTHERS PRETTY MUCH. JUST STAYING AS BROTHERS. MATT: SO, HOW BUMMED ARE YOU IN SCHEME OF
THINGS DROPPING THIS ONE EARLY, FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON TO NASSAU? JESSE: I WOULD HAVE LIKE TO COME OUT WITH
THE WIN. BUT, I MEAN, YOU KNOW, FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON
LIKE I SAID. IT’S GONNA BE AN UPHILL BATTLE FROM HERE. BUT, IT’S NOTHING WE CAN’T DO YOU KNOW. WE GOT A GREAT BUNCH OF GUYS, YOU KNOW, EVERYONE’S
SKILLED, EVERYONE’S TOGETHER SO. THIS WAS DEFINITELY HURTFUL, BUT I MEAN, WE’LL
BE BACK. DEFINITELY. MATT: SO, WHAT’S THE OVERALL MESSAGE SURROUNDING
THE TEAM AND THE GOALS YOU HAVE FOR THE SEASON, ON THE FIELD, OFF THE FIELD, WHAT’S THIS
TEAM TRYING TO DO. HOWARD IN 2018. JESSE: WE’RE DEFINITELY TRYING TO TAKE THAT
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP YOU KNOW, STILL GOT A SOUR TASTE IN OUR MOUTHS SINCE LAST YEAR,
BUT, YOU KNOW, WE’RE JUST GONNA TAKE IT GAME BY GAME, DAY BY DAY, AND HOPEFULLY WE’LL
STAY TOGETHER AS A TEAM AND COME OUT WITH THE WIN. MATT: SAY YOU SEE NASSAU AT NATIONALS DOWN
THE ROAD, WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU LEARNED TODAY THAT WILL HELP YOU IN A POSSIBLE REMATCH. JESSE: JUST TO TRY AND STAY OUT OF THE BOX
YOU KNOW, WE HAD, WE HAD A BUNCH OF CALLS ON US, WE HAD A COUPLE TURNOVERS ON OFFENSE,
BUT, IF WE JUST STAY OUT OF THE BOX, I FEEL LIKE WE CAN DEFINITELY GET IT DONE. MATT: WHAT DO YOU THINK, IN YOUR OPINION,
IS WHAT’S, WHAT’S THE KEY TO STAYING OUT OF THE BOX AND STAYING COMPOSED IN THESE BIG
GAMES, WHERE THE INTENSITY IS DEFINITELY AT A HIGH. JESSE: JUST TO KEEP A COOL HEAD, YOU KNOW
THERE WAS SOME TIMES WHERE PEOPLE WERE TALKING BACK TO EACH OTHER, TALKING TO THE REFS, THROWING
THEIR HANDS UP BUT, JUST KEEPING THAT MINDSET ON IT’S JUST A GAME YOU KNOW, WE’RE HERE
TO WIN, WE’RE HERE TO PLAY , NOT TO HURT ONE ANOTHER. THAT’LL KEEP US OUT OF THE BOX. JUST TO PLAY TOGETHER. MATT: WILL, TOUGH LOSS TODAY. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS FOLLOWING THIS ONE
GOAL LOSS TO NASSAU? WILL: DEFINITELY A TOUGH LOSS, I WAS JUST
PREACHING AT THE END OF THE GAME, WE JUST GOTTA GET BACK TO WORK, BACK TO THE DRAWING
BOARD, JUST GOTTA GET BACK TO, GET BACK TOGETHER ON MONDAY AND JUST GET AFTER IT. MATT: HOW ANXIOUS ARE YOU TO GET BACK AFTER
IT IN YOUR NEXT GAME, AND JUST PUT THIS ONE BEHIND YOU? WILL: VERY ANXIOUS, IT’S HARD TO TAKE A
LOSS LIKE THIS TODAY, ESPECIALLY A ONE GOAL LOSS TO NASSAU, AFTER WE BEAT THEM LAST YEAR,
BUT, DEFINITELY EXCITED TO GET AFTER IT THIS WEEK AND ONTO THE NEXT GAME. MATT: IT SEEMED LIKE AFTER YOU SCORED YOUR
TWO GOALS, THE OFFENSE WAS STRUGGLING AGAINST NASSAU’S DEFENSE. DO YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY? WILL: YEAH, I FEEL LIKE WE KIND OF JUMPED
INTO A RUT ALMOST AND WE KINDA TRIED TO DO THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN WHEN WE
COULDA SWITCHCED IT UP AND GIVE ‘EM SOME DIFFERENT LOOKS. MATT: IN AN EMOTIONAL GAME LIKE THIS, WE ASKED
THE SAME QUESTION TO JESSE, BUT, WHAT’S THE KEY TO LIMITING THESE PENALTIES, EVEN
THOUGH IT’S NOT ALL IN YOUR CONTROL, BUT JUST LIMITING THE PENALTIES AND DOING WHAT’S
BEST FOR HOWARD IN THE BIG PICTURE. WILL: YOU JUST GOTTA KEEP YOUR MIND, YOU KNOW,
JUST STAY FOCUSED ON THE GOAL AND THAT’S WINNING THE GAME AND PLAYING 60 MINUTES AND
YOU JUST GOTTA FOCUS AND JUST MAKE THE RIGHT PLAY AND NOT THE PLAY THAT’S GONNA GET YOU
THE BALL. MATT: CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR
JOURNEY, HOW YOU LANDED HERE AT HOWARD, I KNOW YOU REDSHIRTED LAST YEAR, BUT HOW DID
YOU END UP HERE? WILL: IT WAS A LONG JOURNEY, I MET A KID LAST
YEAR, MATT GRANGER, WHO PLAYED ON THE TEAM TWO YEARS AGO. WAS PLAYING SUMMER LEAGUE WITH HIM AND HE
NOTICED I WASN’T GOING BACK TO LYNCHBURG, AND HE WAS LIKE “YEAH, YOU SHOULD COME OUT
AND TALK TO COACH FOUST. THE NEXT DAY, COACH FOUST CALLED ME AND IT
WAS HISTORY FROM THERE. MATT: WHAT WAS THAT CALL, WITHOUT GIVING AWAY
ANYTHING TOO PERSONAL, LIKE HOW. WHAT SOLD YOU WITH COACH FOUST? WILL: HE WAS JUST SUCH A PEOPLE PERSON TO
ME, HE JUST, HE STICKS YOUR NECK OUT FOR YOU, JUST, HE’LL DO ANYTHING FOR YOU. AND, I
REALLY LIKE THAT AND RESPECTED THAT AS A COACH AND AS A PLAYER AND WANTED TO COME HERE TO
PRODUCE FOR HIM. MATT: SO, I HEAR, THE, WHAT’S BEING PREACHED
YOU, THE WHOLE TEAM IS JUST, ONE DAY AT A TIME, LOOK AT THE NEXT OPPONENT, HOW DO YOU
MANAGE WITH THAT? WILL: JUST TRY TO PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF
THE OTHER AND JUST ACCOMPLISH WHAT WE CAN THAT DAY. CAN’T JUMP TOO FAR AHEAD, CAN’T FOCUS
ON ANYTHING THAT’S TOO FAR AHEAD OF US, JUST GOTTA FOCUS ON WHAT’S RIGHT IN FRONT
OF US, THE PRESENT. MATT: SO, WHAT IN YOUR MIND, YOU HAD A BIG
DAY WITH AT LEAST FOUR GOALS, I DON’T KNOW THE EXACT NUMBER, SORRY, BUT UH YOU HAD A
BIG DAY, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING TO IMPROVE ON THOUGH, AS THIS SEASON PROGRESSES? ANYTHING SPECIFIC? WILL: I’M LOOKING TO DISTRIBUTE THE BALL
A LITTLE BIT MORE, I DEFINITELY COULD, THERE WERE DEFINITELY OPENINGS THAT I MISSED TODAY
THAT I COULD’VE HAD A FEW MORE POINTS, DEFINITELY GAVE US THE LEAD AND MAYBE THE GAME COULD
HAVE TURNED OUT DIFFERENTLY SO, JUST WATCHING FILM, GETTING BACK TO IT. MATT: WHAT’S ONE THING THAT YOU LEARNED
TODAY ABOUT NASSAU THAT MAY HELP YOU, SHOULD YOU SEE THEM AGAIN? WILL: THEY’RE A VERY ATHLETIC, VERY WELL
COACHED AND THEY LOVE TO TALK. NOT JUST LIKE CHIRP AT US, BUT THEY TALK BETWEEN
EACH OTHER AND THEY’RE VERY VOCAL BETWEEN EACH OTHER SO WE KNOW, SO THEY KNOW WHERE
THEY’RE GOING AND WHAT THEY’RE DOING.

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