Colgate Men’s Lacrosse 2012 Player Blog, Remembering Tyler Kopp

The 2012 season is here and we wanted to work closely with college programs to bring a part of the excitement to you. Throughout the 2012 season we will highlight lacrosse programs on our space for all of our readers to follow. Player blogs serve as a unique outlet for programs to showcase their season as it develops, plus highlight everything they have to offer a student-athlete. In contrast, families and fans get a glimpse into the program’s athletic and academic regimen.

Colgate Lacrosse
Jason Coppersmith, Senior Defenseman from Boca Raton, Fla.

Week of February 6th -February 12th 2012

Finally the week was upon us; our first game against Bryant was merely 5 days away. The Monday morning lift came and went per usual, and before practice we met to watch film. The clips were a mixture of good and bad plays we’d made the previous Saturday against Cornell. We came away from it wanting to be the team we played like in the last three quarters against the Big Red that we won 13-6. Right off the bat practice started with an OT scrimmage to get us all going, and was won by Matt Clarkson dodging under his defender and putting it in for the “win”.

Monday’s practice was a lot of position work; whether it be 1 vs. 1s, 6 vs. 6, or just scrumming it up (scrimmaging). Alongside that, we were reminded of our penalties from the past Saturday by having to run gassers for every one we received (3 full ones and 2 half ones). By the end of a really solid day’s work, the lunch pail had the number 28 placed on it for our junior captain, James Queeney. As one of our returning defenseman, he had a week of playing smart and physical while being a leader in the scrimmage.

Before Tuesday’s practice I felt that this blog needed more. The readers are getting the “inside scoop” of a player, but what else could I do... So I decided to pull my groin at the end of Monday’s practice and add an injured player’s insight as well. Between almost every one of my classes for the rest of this week, I would go to see our trainer, Chuck, and hop in the ice bath for 10 minutes. During practice I gained a newfound respect for the coaching staff and standing still for two hours in the freezing cold without the sun- Coach Abbott especially who barely ever wears gloves. Practices didn’t end on the account of my injury, although wouldn’t that be nice? Tuesday still went on with me shivering on the sideline as we went over our zone defense, and worked on our transition game a lot during it.

Tuesday also marked two other noteworthy things. The first was the announcement that Matt Abbott, coach Mike Abbott’s brother, would join the staff. He’s a volunteer assistant coach who has been working with the middies and face-off guys a (the most vocal of all of our coaches). The second thing was when we found out about the death of Tyler Kopp. Tyler was a twelve-year-old lacrosse player, and son of Brian and Julie Kopp (both Colgate grads; Brian was a lacrosse player while here). This news struck our entire team pretty hard, and we signed a card to have sent to the Kopp family. He died playing the game we all love, and as Brian said, “his spirit lives on with his family, friends, and many communities who were touched by his wonderful life”.

Wednesday, Connor Brown’s hump day, began with lift, and saw the offensive guys come down to watch film during their lunch. Before practice we watched some clips of Bryant for both offensive and defensive purposes, then went out to go over our game plan. Coach Murphy had us go over our ride and clear early, then we got into 6 vs. 6 at two ends. Here, the defense went against a scout offense acting like Bryant to allow defenders to get to know their matchup. The day as a whole was up tempo with moments to walk through plays.

Thursday we really got into scouting Bryant. Playbooks were in each of our lockers, and jerseys were taken out to practice for our scout guys (by yours truly: another thing injured players help with). Coach Starsia told us we had to make sure we play as seven guys together on the defensive end, but made sure we would focus on their best player. As Coach Murphy put it to the starting defense, always ask yourself, “where’s waldo?” because he moves all over the field. Kevin Boyle would be given the task of guarding this kid on Saturday. After ending the practice with a man up/ man down session, Coach told us that Friday had to be our best pregame practice to date, and it would be.

Guys really came to play on Friday with no one just going through the motions. The passes were crisp, the shots were on target, and the defensive communication was there. Per usual, we went through all sorts of situations and brought it in around Coach to end it. He told us that the hay was in the barn, and that tomorrow was for real. We’ve seen glimpses of how good we can be, but needed to put it together for 60 minutes against the Bulldogs. We had to come out full of energy from the opening whistle to the last second on the clock.

On a sunny Saturday morning, we all headed up to Frank for breakfast then had to be down at the athletic center by 11 a.m. When we got into the locker room we were welcomed with new Nike game shirts and shooting pullovers (See picture). Not a terrible way to start gameday morning. Every guy was feeling really good with our new gear and newly arrived music receiver (thank you Pat Korn). The throw around before the warm-up had our team loose but focused on the task at hand. We then headed into our team room under Andy Kerr to hear our keys to the game. Coach Abbott wanted the offense to play fast and smart, while Coach Starsia wanted the defense to work as a t.e.a.m. (together everyone achieves more). Coach Murphy then emphasized the three E’s: effort, enthusiasm, and execution. We brought it up around him, and finally, with every single guy ready to go right there and then, hands went up and voices yelled, “together!”

Our warm-up went great; everyone was clearly excited for the coming hour of play. After it ended, we huddled around the coaching staff to hear them stress that, “today is about us! If we play our game the way we want, we win!” And that’s exactly what we planned to do. Right off the bat Jeff Ledwick started us off with a goal to put us up 1-0. Then Colby Wilson connected with Matt Clarkson to give us a 2-0 lead and gather their first points of their careers. As the game went on, it seemed as if we had the edge on every part of the field, but we ran into some trouble with penalties (seven of them to be exact) that kept Bryant in the game. With a strong defensive effort from John Donnally, Jimmy Ryan, Kevin Gordon, Bobby Lawrence, and the three previously mentioned defensemen we managed to hold off the Bulldogs. On the offensive end Ryan Walsh recorded his first goal as a Raider, and with one of the best players in the country in Peter Baum (4 goals and an assist), we won the game 10-8.

This win meant something for a multitude of reasons. It marks our first time starting 1-0 in three years, the beginning of the end for the senior class, but most importantly it was the first win of the Murphy era. Coach Murphy congratulated us all after the game; he said to enjoy this one for 24 hours. However, after those 24 hours he reminded us that the following week we had Vermont coming to town- a team that beat us last year. He told us how they’re just another obstacle in our way of achieving what we want. For now we’re pleased with what we’ve accomplished, but know there’s much more to do in striving for a Patriot League title. It now shifts to trying to go 2-0, and with the Catamounts it’ll be personal.
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