Another weekend another two wins in the books for the Illinois State Redbirds. This time it was in very frigid temperatures in Milwaukee Wisconsin. We were slated to play 3 games in 3 days however given a freak snow storm that decided to dump around a foot of snow in Milwaukee forced us to cancel our game Sunday against Marquette. We were able to hold off a very tough University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee team Friday night, with temperatures nearing the 20’s. Defensively we did not play very disciplined but with a great effort in cage by Emmanuel “Mannie Fresh” Nuno we were able to hold UWM to 6 goals. As a team I felt we came out very flat but was able to pick it up in the third quarter.
It did not help whatsoever that there was a casino directly across the street from the fields. And when I say directly, I mean I could have spit into the parking lot from the field we played on. All I could think about was playing some roulette and blackjack but realized the real reason we had traveled to Milwaukee, to win games. That we did and we were able to notch our record at 4-0.
Saturday proved to be a colder game as the storm started to roll in. This time we were up against a very dangerous team, Minnesota-Mankato State. We kept a lead early but Mankato was able to almost come back with a very great performance in the 4th quarter.
The field was old school turf which sucks to play on; because anytime you fall you are going to pay for it when you water hits the turf burn. There was a lot of down time for our team this weekend and most of it consisted of making trips to the restaurant/bar that was connected to our hotel and also relaxing in the hot tub. We decided to name this hotel Hogwarts as it seemed to have tunnels to everything that was offered. There was a tunnel to the arcade, there was a tunnel to the pool, and there was a tunnel to the office. It was nice to be able to give our guys the opportunity to go hang out in the pool/hot-tub and also the restaurant and bar to get away from having 7 lacrosse guys in a hotel room that should only accommodate 4-5 people comfortably. I do not wish that upon anyone but I know many teams face these kinds of accommodations week in and week out. But let me tell you by the end of the weekend those rooms smelled like a pigpen. 7 lacrosse guys in a room on top of all the equipment did not make for a very promising smell.
These trips prove to be my favorite because of all the nonsense and shenanigans that arises from being in such tight quarters with each other for 3 days and 2 nights. The team bonding is incredible to see and at the end of the weekend instead of wanting to fight each other, we are that much closer. It feels great being 4-0 right now but we have definitely not played up to our potential yet. The second half of our season is quickly approaching and we have do not have an easy game by any means. We take on Western Michigan this weekend for our home opener and then travel to University of Illinois to take on what proves to be our biggest rival game.
I am very happy in the way the season has been progressing given all the nonsense we have dealt with to get here. We have overcame a lot of adversity so far and it would have been easy to go belly up and not fight through it, but we have, and right now it feels good to say the Illinois State Redbirds are undefeated.