By Steve Rollins | 5/24/12 11:45 AM
Long Island Lizards rookie and attackman Matt Gibson was named the MLL Cascade Rookie of the Week in Week 4 after a 10-9 victory over the Hounds. Gibson scored a goal and had 4 assists in his MLL debut. The Yale alum might be the spark the Lizards needed as he helped the Lizards clinch their first victory so far this season. MLL’s Steve Rollins had an opportunity to speak with Gibson to gain insight into his first MLL game and how he’s looking forward to the rest of his rookie season.
In your very first MLL game you went up against one of our new expansion teams and won the title of Rookie of the Week. How does it feel to set the bar so high coming out of the gate? Will this be an indication of what’s to come this season?
It feels good to have a confidence booster and to have a first game like that but, obviously it set a decently high bar. With the guys we have on the team, someone is going to be getting it done. I’m sure some weeks it’s going to be a different guy and some weeks I’ll be able to do what I can. Hopefully moving forward I will be a part of it because we do have a lot of good guys on our team who can get it done.
I know you’ve played in some big games over your college career, but talk about how you felt before the game knowing that you’re playing in your first professional lacrosse game.
I was a little bit nervous but also I didn’t know what to expect because going into it with all the little changes, I was trying to wrap my head around it but it felt somewhat like a big college game. I didn’t know who was going to be guarding me, I didn’t have any scouting on them, so in some sense it was similar to going into a big college game but it was a lot different. The new rules make you think differently during the game so I had to take it slow and learn things as I went.
Lots of people say that the professional game is different than the collegiate game. What would you say the biggest difference is in making that transition?
I think the biggest difference is obviously playing with a new group of guys, in terms of the change over to a new team. I’m used to playing four years with the guys that I know and then to be thrown out there with these guys is a challenge. In terms of the rules I think the shot clock changes not only the time of possessions; it also changes your thinking. Sometimes you take a shot you wouldn’t have taken in college and that also goes hand in hand with having good guys around you who know how to use the shot clock; you’re going to have to press the ball a little bit.
You made 4 assists and scored a goal in your first game but, overall what do you want to contribute to the Long Island Lizards this season?
I want to do whatever they want me to do. I came into it and I really didn’t know what my role was going to be or what my status would be on the team. If they put me in the midfield I would’ve done that, wherever they wanted me to play. Moving forward I’d like to be an offensive contributor but whatever the coaches want me to do, I’m going to do as long as it’s on the offensive end I will be good to go.
We have a bye week this week but going into your next game against the Ohio Machine, are you looking forward to playing against some of the best defensemen in the game Brett Hughes, Kyle Hartzell, and Greg Bice? How are you going to approach this game?
I’m going to need to do a little homework, its different because I don’t know any of these guys, I’ve never seen them play so I’m going to learn a little bit about them. I’m going to try and not think about it too much, that’s what I tried to do last week; you don’t want to go into a game nervous because you’re not going to play a good game. You just have to not think too much about it or build too much hype towards it; otherwise you’ll end up taking a different approach than you would have.
What style of play would you say you have as an attackman?
I’d like to be balanced. I pass a lot but I think with the different rules, and being able to jump into the crease, I’m going to be able to score a couple goals here and there to be pretty balanced. I have always been a transition player but I like transition so with the way the MLL works, I think me, Ryan Young, Brian Langtry and Big Cat (Grant Catalino), will be able to push the ball in transition and hopefully we’ll be able to do something with that.
The Lizards saw their first win last week, what do you guys need to do to keep up the momentum in week 5 especially with a bye week this week?
I think if we play like we did last week then we’ll keep it going. Obviously I wasn’t around for the first two games but, this past week the defense played awesome. Adams in goal was incredible and the offense did what we had to do. We have some real good midfielders, we have real good attack so if we just play like we did last week and the defense does what they do, and we win some face offs then I think we’ll be fine. The team is pretty confident, its hard for me to get a gauge on that being so new but, I know that the coaching staff and the players are pretty pumped up about the win and moving forward.
If you had to choose – Facebook or Twitter?
What’s the most played artist or song on your iPod?
Favorite part of lacrosse?
What’s the most important thing for aspiring MLL players to do to improve their game?
Keep your work ethic
The Long Island Lizards will host the Ohio Machine on Friday, June 1 at 7:00 p.m. ET at James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, NY.
MLL will host its marquee event in Palm Beach County, FL this year on Saturday, June 30! To buy your tickets now, click here. To learn more about the 2012 MLL All-Star Game presented by Moe's Southwest Grill, click here. The 2012 MLL All-Star Game will feature the best lacrosse players in the world, all on one field and will be aired live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.