Each week during the 2010 season, Quinnipiac senior Todd Kaiser will share his thoughts on the Bobcats' men's lacrosse program.
4:17 A.M. - I will be honest with you that I had no idea what was going on when I awoke to the dreadful buzz coming from the little black box two-feet from my face. Unlike any other morning, I didn't have the luxury of pressing the snooze button for the next 30 minutes. Luckily I took care of everything (by that I mean throwing everything in my locker into my travel bag) the day before so all I had to do was jump in the shower and drive over to the athletic center.
7:33 A.M. - After successfully making it through security, it was time to get down to business. As I turned the corner and saw the Golden Arches of McDonalds my heart started to race like I was a Polar Bear ready to take down its prey. (Now I am not going to call anyone out, but there are still a couple of people in the Sports Information Department who believe that a polar bear is not capable of taking down a tiger...yeah I don't know what they're thinking either). There were so many choices... I didn't know whether to go with the Sausage McMuffin or the Big Breakfast Platter?
10:22 A.M. MST - The four-hour flight wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be but I was happy to land in Denver. I elected to take on the responsibility of sitting in the emergency- exit row ...it was definitely worth having the extra room. I sat next to Coach Pabis and watched him separate game-film, which was mildly entertaining.
12:30 P.M. - We arrived at our hotel with enough time to go up to our rooms, get settled in and have a nice meal before our practice at the University of Denver. When I heard that I was rooming with Bailey Tuthill again I knew that it was going to be a fun-filled weekend full of intellectual conversation and quality hang-out time.
2:15 P.M - Even though it had been a long day, we needed to have a clean and crisp practice. You could tell from the start that guys were fatigued but we fought through it to have a successful pre-game practice. The air is a lot thinner in Denver, so it was beneficial that we flew out to Denver a day early, practiced and got use to the difference in elevation.
7:30 - 9:00 P.M. - The dinner spread was pretty good with an even better desert selection. So many different types of cake...the only problem being that there was no milk. We finished out dinner by watching film on Air Force, reviewing all of their tendencies so that we were 100% prepared for any situation. There was a good vibe in the room; you could tell that the team was ready.
Friday - Game day vs. Air Force
After waking up and going to breakfast, a few of us made a trip to the local Walgreen's to purchase the ever-so-important Pedialyte. I really have no idea if drinking Pedialyte before a game prevents dehydration but I am a sucker when it comes to peer pressure so I have consumed one before the last few games.
After breakfast we were given some downtime to get done what we needed to get done. Bailey and I went up to our room, quizzed each other on the Air Force tendencies and took full advantage of the iPod dock that each room was provided with. We are both huge "Guitar Hero" fans so songs such as Avenged Sevenfold's "Beast and the Harlot" and The Slip's "Even Rats" were played at maximum volume...air guitar included.
The team had a nice lunch before we took an hour drive to Colorado Springs to take on Air Force. During the drive and up to game time, you could tell that the guys were ready and focused to get back on the winning track.
We came out firing, having a 5-1 lead after the first quarter. After the first quarter, Air Force went into a zone defense which really slowed down the pace of the game...we went into half time with a 6 - 3 lead. The key to playing against a zone is to be patient and wait for the opportunities to come...don't force anything...wait for the defense to make a mistake. At half time we talked about continuing to attack Air Force and not play to protect our lead. We have learned the hard way the past couple of weeks about playing to protect a lead. Even though we only scored two goals in the second half, at no point was I worried about losing the game. The defense was playing strong and the offense was having good possessions which generated good scoring chances. We came out with the 8 - 6 win...winning is always fun, it was nice to have the "weight of losing" off of our shoulders... Everyone was in good spirits, here is the senior class after the win.
Saturday was a much needed recovery day. We watched a ton of film on Denver and had an efficient practice in the late-afternoon.
Denver is a VERY good team. They are well-coached with a ton of talent; we knew that we were in for a tough game. We had to play error-free lacrosse so that we could limit their opportunities...they are the type of team that will capitalize off of every mistake. These points were stressed throughout the entire day.
Sunday - Game day vs. Denver
Besides the fact that I woke up choking on a cough drop (don't ask me why there was a cough drop in my mouth while I was sleeping), Sunday started off pretty well. Having a guaranteed, effortless meal before any game is a good thing and the breakfast that morning was amazing (great bacon). I was also awarded with "Best Dressed" at the pregame meal.
We packed up, headed to the field and said goodbye to the Hyatt around 9 o'clock. Nothing gets me more annoyed than sitting around the locker room for an hour and a half before the game...All of the nerves and adrenaline builds up, I become very impatient.
Denver came out and put in three quick goals within the first few minutes. We could have packed it in early but we kept fighting back. Even though the offense had a very poor half, we were still in a position to win the game after the first two quarters. We forced a lot of looks in the first half... we would have to change our approach to possessions if we wanted to win. We were only down by 3... we just had to keep chipping away at their lead.
We had stronger possessions in the second half and made overall better decisions. Unlike the first half, we took our time and made the necessary looks. We had to limit Denver's time of possession so it was essential for the offense to have long, beneficial possessions.
We made a few crucial mistakes that really became the difference in the game. A couple of missed passes, late slides on defense and missed groundballs were the keys to the loss. We got within two goals with about 8 minutes left but Denver rallied off three in a row to put it out of reach. It was a tough loss to swallow...especially when we were stressing the fact that they would capitalize on all of our mistakes.
That was the beginning of a very long trip home. I won't get into details, but a delayed flight and a missing DATTCO bus caused us to arrive back in Hamden at 4 a.m.
Song of the trip: Dido - White Flag (download it now and then ask Alex Dealmeida to sing it to you)
Roommates of the trip: Alex Marotto and Ted Dimond...you know they have something good going together when you walk into their room and Enya is playing.
-Honorable Mention - Crandon Leahy and Matt Baker...I am surprised Matt didn't kill Crandon after four days together.
Alumni of the trip: Pat Elliott '09 and Drew Maceranka '08...thanks for coming to the Denver game, glad to see the west is treating you guys well...keep livin' the dream.
Administrator of the trip: Mr. Bob Tipson. Here is your shout-out, hope you like it. In all seriousness... thanks for making this trip (and every other trip the last three years) problem free.