The unveiling of our improved mascot comes at an appropriate time, as one spring sports team is already legitimizing the new ferocious image of our once serene, friendly Camel. The Connecticut College Men’s Lacrosse Team is having a momentous season thus far.
Not only are they undefeated with four NESCAC wins under their belts, but they are ranked #10 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) National Poll.
The Camels opened their season on Saturday March 13 with a strong victory against Trinity College.
They continued to dominate over spring break with non-league wins against Plymouth State, Clarkson University and SUNY Farmingdale. On March 20, Conn faced off against its NESCAC rival, Amherst College, a team they had not beaten since April 2001. While it was a tough game, the Camels fought until the end and secured a 10-8 triumph over the Lord Jeffs.
While defeating their long-time rival is itself impressive, the Camels went even further and managed to outlast #5 ranked Middlebury on Saturday March 27. While Conn still has plenty of NESCAC competition ahead, their level of play thus far in 2010 long surpasses their success of prior seasons.
So what has made this season so unbelievable? Is it the fact that the College finally invested in a snowplow so that players can spend their time practicing rather than shoveling the turf? Or is it maybe the addition of lights to Silfen Field?
While both of these investments have undoubtedly aided in the Camels’ success this year, it is more likely due to the dramatic change in the intensity of the players and coaches. Going into his fourth season at Conn, Head Coach David Cornell has added two more assistant coaches to his ranks, Dan Corcoran and Thomas Nahornick.
Topher Grossman, a 2005 graduate of the college and prolific Camel goaltender, continues to share his wisdom on the field for his third year as assistant coach. Now with double the amount of coaching staff, the Camels can reach their full potential. Coach Cornell believes they will be a more efficient team this year as each player can now attain individual attention and improve his own skills.
Not only has the program expanded its coaching staff, but also this season’s roster is composed of mostly new players. Coach Cornell states that the goal of recruiting for 2010 was to find “the best players and try to get them to buy into the sacrifice required to be a competitive team in the NESCAC.” He has high standards and demands hard work from his players in every practice and game.
“You’re either hot or cold. We don’t want any lukewarm guys in our program, you need to be all in,” said Cornell.
This year’s team is chock-full of young and talented players. While some may see the Camels’ lack of experienced upperclassmen as a disadvantage, the Camel freshmen and sophomores have stepped up as leaders of this year’s squad.
Sophomore Chuck Czerkawski has been consistent in the midfield, winning 75 percent of his face-offs and leading the team with 44 ground balls. On attack, freshman Stephen Eicher has a rocket of a shot and has scored some key goals for the Camels this season. Sophomore Rob Moccia has proven himself to be a wall in the cage, stopping 62 percent of the shots he has faced.
While the underclassmen seem to be taking the spotlight, the continued impact of senior tri-captains, Sean Driscoll, Steve Dachille and Will Schumann cannot be ignored.
Dachille notched his 100th career goal in the match-up against Keene State on March 30 and has a total of 22 points so far this season. Driscoll and Schumann continue to be strong defenders, corralling 24 and 18 ground balls, respectively.
While this year’s squad has shown great improvement over past seasons, Coach Cornell realizes the challenges that lie ahead for the Camels. His only expectations for this season are to unite as a team and play 100 percent every game.
“All the talk about rankings and tournaments is great, but that’s all it is…talk,” said Cornell. “Let’s compete everyday and when we’re told there are no more games left to play, we’ll hug each other and tell one another great job.”