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Lars' November letter

November brings the earlier arrival of daily darkness, shifting the tone of the skill sessions as it heightens the sense that we are moving closer to the next phase: the winter phase. The reality is that we only have a few more sessions left together this semester, as we are required to finish all organized team activities before the month ends. We will continue to focus on stickwork, shooting, faceoffs, 1v1s, team defense and “small ball” games as well as techniques specific to each position. This is a phase that our staff composition allows us to thrive as Rocco Romero trains the midfielders, Sean Kirwan guides the attackmen and Kip Turner molds the faceoff men and goalies better than anyone. The staff and I enjoy these small groupings. The time working with the defensemen, defensive midfielders and the others can be some of the most rewarding as we witness progress and enhanced comprehension.

In the weight room, our men have experienced a training regimen quite different from years past. Strength and conditioning coach Everrett Gathron has redesigned the programming to match the style of play we employ on the field. The men are cycling through the exercises at a higher pace without sacrificing too much in terms of weight. In addition to strength, Everrett is training for enhanced agility, rotational power and flexibility, which has also been addressed with the Tuesday yoga sessions. Sprints and endurance running are coming into focus now, as we are under 3 months away from the opening game of the season. With any training, the foundation of success is the intensity at which the athletes drive themselves. To this end, our staff is eager to observe the results of the team’s workouts over the break period. This upcoming 45-day break period is in multiple ways the most critical time for the program. What will the condition of each man be as they return to Charlottesville in mid-January? Team training naturally provides higher levels of motivation. We must challenge the men to recreate the same heightened state with their independent training.

We are losing a member of our staff later this month. After 7 years with Virginia Lacrosse, Peter Krawczyk is changing seats and shifting to the Office of the President. Many of us are gulping, none more so than myself, to see Peter depart our program. He has been an invaluable resource for Dom and his staff, and now for us: Peter knows UVa Lacrosse better than anyone else. We will certainly miss Peter but fortunately for UVa he will continue to serve his alma mater.

Last week the VAF hosted a combined men’s alumni and women’s alumnae event at the New York Athletic Club. Head Coach Julie Myers ’90 and I both provided updates with the status of each of our programs and what we envision the future to hold. I shared my plan to expand our alumni networking and the professional / career development support for our student-athletes in a program called the Virginia Venture. UVa alumni / alumnae have been fantastically successful in their professional endeavors. Can we connect our current student-athletes with you and show them the paths, both the successful paths and the less so, you took? We are eager to build upon the mentoring program that was rekindled last winter and to continue to expose our student-athletes to the wide array of potential futures.

Our 2018 game schedule will be available next month once ESPN has finalized their game and date requests: ESPN can shift game times and dates of our ACC games until mid-December. For now, I can tell you we will open the regular season February 10 here in Charlottesville against Loyola. Princeton is back on the schedule, to be played at UVa a few weeks later (February 24). In total, we have 6 home weekend game dates along with 2 home scrimmage dates. More details will be provided next month about these games and the rest of the schedule.

Nine young men of the high school of 2018 signed a National Letter of Intent with our program this past week. Kip Turner and Sean Kirwan put in great efforts with securing this class. This group of young men still have much to do in order to prove themselves to be impactful here at UVa and on the national level of Division One lacrosse. But our staff is eager to train and build relationships with this crew of strong students.
Patrick Burkinshaw Goalie Brunswick (CT)
Jeff Conner Midfield Strath Haven (PA)
Payton Cormier Attack Oakville Trafalgar (ONT, Canada)
Xander Dickson Attack Brunswick (CT)
Petey LaSalla FO/M Rocky Point (NY)
Kian Olexo LSM/D Spalding (MD)
Grayson Sallade Midfield Manheim Township (PA)
Cade Saustad Defense Highland Park (TX)
Jack Simmons Midfield McDonogh (MD)

Final note: two of our 2017 graduates, Jeff Kratky and Michael Rhoads, found themselves in Australia only weeks after graduation. I am sharing a note here from Jeff, to both share his return to the U.S. and Rhoads continued adventures Down Under and to also give you a look into the mindset and adventurous spirit of men whom are coming through our program and your alma mater. “I wanted to let you know that I'm back home in the US as I recently accepted a job doing equity research at Piper Jaffray in NYC. I've been trying to land this job for like 9 months so I'm really excited to get started, although it's extremely bittersweet to be leaving Australia right before summer kicks off. I was hoping to stay down in Australia til January, but this opportunity came and it was too good to pass up. The past 5 months in Australia have been amazing, and I'd encourage any graduating player who doesn't have their dream job lined up to do what Rhoads and I did and get down there. It's a great way to travel, all while growing the game, seeing a different side of the world, and making extremely strong friendships in the process. The club we played for, Altona, is a close community that took great care of us, so if any of the guys are thinking about going to Australia, definitely have them reach out to me or Mike so we can send them to the same team. Rhoads is up in Sydney working as an engineer at the airport, and I'm not sure he'll ever come back to the US. There's a huge demand for engineers in Australia, so if I was him I probably wouldn't come home either.”

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!!

Posted: 11/17/2017 at 9:49PM


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Current Thread:
Lars' November letter -- QuickStick 11/17/2017 9:49PM
  I can't wait for the newsletter to say: -- HOOLAXFAN 11/20/2017 11:09AM
  Or ACC win. Baby steps. ** -- D 11/22/2017 06:55AM

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