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isu_playerIt was another season that came down to the wire for Illinois State lacrosse.  We were put in the same position as last year, having to win our last game to qualify for a spot in the conference tournament. We just did not come to play against Missouri and they took full advantage of that. Missouri took a commanding lead at halftime (6-1) and put us against the wall. The Redbirds were able to battle back but landing short of a playoff spot by two goals. The final score was 10-9 and I really believe that we should have won that game, but Missouri wanted it more. Nothing against our players and each player played their hearts out, it is just always disappointing to work hard all season and come so close to making the playoffs. Especially given the magnitude of what we were playing for this year, dedicating our season to our fallen teammate.

This year proved to be a very great year for a young Redbird team. We are only losing 6 seniors, all who made a huge impact on our team but we have a young team to look forward to next year. It proves to be an eye-opener for the younger guys to work harder in the off-season to come out and be a better team next year. We were able to get some great games in but I think to make the push to become a more potent team more out of conference games against higher powered teams should be in the future scheduling.

I am very interested to see how the MCLA national tournament plays out given that there is a lot of talk about how teams were seeded. Most of which stems from wins and losses but obviously there was some method to the MCLA selection committee on why they seeded how they did. There is never going to be a collective agreement to seeding for teams and I think that teams just need to go out and worry about winning their match ups.

First round match ups are up for grabs and I strongly believe there will be a few upsets that will take place.

Another year has ended and the Illinois State lacrosse team looks to pick up where they left off next year. Thanks to e-Lacrosse for allowing me to post my nonsense thoughts, even though our head coach believes I wrote all of this with a crayon. Also thanks to all the supporters for the Illinois State team it is greatly appreciated. As always look for updates on our team through our website: www.redbirdlacrosse.com.

Have a great summer and we will see you next year.

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.

vs_kansas2Illinois State Lacrosse preparing for a long weekend. The Redbirds will be traveling to wonderful Milwaukee Wisconsin where the weather will be chilly and the scenery will be nothing but cornfields. Nothing against Wisconsin, I love the state but the drive from Bloomington-Normal to Wisconsin consists of nothing but cows and cornfields.

There is nothing new that is happening with our program, oh wait yes there is. This weekend we will be taking our own vehicles to the games (university certified) because the university vans that we were supposed to have were double-booked leaving us to find another means of transportation. This is not my first choice of transportation but given the little time period to find alternative travel means we had to resort to our own cars. We will be packing up in 7 vehicles to travel 3 and half hours away to play some very tough teams. We will be up against University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Friday night, Minnesota-Mankato State Saturday afternoon and end the weekend at 9:45 AM on Sunday against Marquette. These are three out of conference games for our team and should prove to be some very good competition. It has been a rocky week having to cancel practice Tuesday due to weather, leaving us with only two days of full practice to prepare.

I have instilled in our team that we need to put aside the issues that have come about with not being able to take vans and have tried to keep a sense of fun during practice. This is a very competitive sport but with any sport there has to be a level of fun to keep everyone enjoying what they are doing. If it is all work and no play that would not make for an enjoyable season. I think keeping the practices very intense with a sense of fun makes for a very tight nit group of guys. Of course nothing can ever be perfect but we have always strived to be the best of friends on this team. I am a firm believer in the fact that if you enjoy the people you are around that is going to make for a better team.

I think everything that is attached with being a club sport makes you realize just how much each and every other team’s administrators work at making sure the season goes off without a hitch. I salute all administrators present and past on each club team and varsity level team because I have experienced first hand the ups and downs that are associated with running a team. Most of the time it is a grueling task of making sure all the little details are filed out but in the end you see the product that has become and the way that everyone meshes together.

Wish us luck this weekend and we hope to bring back 3 wins to Bloomington- Normal and get ready for our conference games in the month of April. Look for an update on this weekend when we arrive back home. Good luck to other teams that are competing this weekend.

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