You’re coming up on your fifth season with the league. Talk about your role as a veteran, especially as it relates to your success with the Cannons last season and what you hope to achieve this year.
I can’t believe it’s been five years. I think I’ve definitely continued to learn the game more and more, obviously it’s a little different than in college with the shot clock and some of the rules, the speed of the game is a lot faster, so I think being a veteran of five years I’ll be able to help and assist the younger guys who are coming on board. I think I do need to take a little bit more control of the ball at certain points, and control the game maybe when things aren’t going our way. Things along those lines can benefit us. As far as last year I think we had a great gel and I think I continue to support my teammates and continue to get better and enhance my game but overall obviously winning the championship last year and having a successful year, if I can continue to produce what I did last year it’ll be good for me.
2012 is an expansion year for the league with the new Charlotte Hounds and Ohio Machine. What are your thoughts on the increased competition that’s going to bring this year?
That’s great I love it. Anytime the league’s growing is awesome. Charlotte – I’m excited to go down and play there and being from Ohio State I can’t wait to go back to Columbus. More guys are going to be able to play in this league having 40 more roster spots, obviously two more teams to compete against so I think the competition is going to be hyped a lot more this year.
It’s no secret that the Cannons were able to retain most of their Championship roster, something that few teams were able to do. You did lose a few key players though. Tell us your thoughts on the loss of guys like Kip Turner, Max Quinzani and Greg Downing.
Those guys were essential to us winning the championship last year. It’s tough to lose these guys because you know they’ll find roster spots on other teams so you’re most likely going to end up playing against them, which is the worst thing about it. That absolutely is going to be a loss for us. We’re looking to hopefully find new talent that comes up and can fill those roles and can be successful for us in those spots.
Goaltender Jordan Burke broke onto the scene last year and fans saw an incredible performance by him. What role do you think he played in bringing the Cannons their first-ever MLL title?
Burke was phenomenal, there’s no doubt about it. What a stopper he is and just a rock back there for us in the net. I know he’s going to be better no doubt this year. He’s going to continue to command the defense. We’re going to continue to lean on him to make the big saves that he needs to make. With him having a good year we’re going to have a good shot at running the table again.
Can you talk about the pressure of being the team to beat this year? Is it something you’re going to thrive off of or will it bring an added pressure?
I think a little bit of both. Obviously being champs, every team that comes in to play you, they want to take you down, which makes us need to rise to the occasion even more each and every game. We need to come in ready to play at the first whistle and play to the last whistle. I think it will make it a little tougher for us this season but I think we have the guys who can rise to the challenge.
In the wake of your championship win, media and fans kept circling back to your ‘blue collar’ approach, and your locker room camaraderie. Can you expand on this?
There’s no doubt about it. We definitely have a blue collar approach. I think we have guys in the locker room that work out during the week, push themselves during the week, make sure their sticks are in their hands during the week. This is essential for us to have success and I think we have those types of guys. They’re willing to get gritty between the lines that end up paying dividends in the end, so there’s no doubt about it when people talk about the Cannons being a blue collar team; 100 percent we absolutely are.
I think the team’s ability to retain its core guys was the first victory for Steve Duffy who will take over the reins as head coach this year. What are your thoughts on him moving up from assistant coach, and of course the loss of Bill Daye?
Daye was great and he’ll be tremendously missed but Steve Duffy is a perfect fit, no doubt about it. He’s a local guy, knows lacrosse well, has a great rapport with all the players; I think the transition with him Is going to be smooth as possible and I think you should see us hit the ground running in the first game and hopefully we can get his first victory as soon as possible.
I know that you’re often involved with youth clinics and coaching. What can you say about the growth of the sport and perhaps the difference between what you saw growing up versus what you see today?
Wow that’s an excellent question. The growth of this game has been tremendous. I saw it when I was at Ohio State over my four years. I could tell when I was a freshman the camps and clinics were – the growth and amount of attendees grew to when I was a senior. The game continues to grow, I think the vendors play a major part of that to get in the media and advertise the games and they make more ppl aware in the US about lacrosse. I think it’s catching like wildfire. Lacrosse I believe has that vibe around it similar to that surfing vibe. It’s the cool thing to do, a good thing to do, a great game, great spectator sport. I’m not surprised that it’s caught on and I foresee it continuing to grow. I hope it continues to grow at the college level and more schools continue to fund programs.
You mentioned the vendors who continue to advertise. Are you still working with Brine?
I am still working with Brine. Brine has been great to me. I continue to do things around here in the New England Area, whether it’s clinics camps or appearances. Obviously they make great stuff and I’m happy to be part of that team and to support their products.
I think any MLL player will tell you his ultimate goal is to win the Steinfeld Trophy. In a year that you’re looking to repeat, have you set any additional personal goals?
We would love to repeat. As far as my goals, as far as point-wise I’d love to grow in that category with goals and assists, but it really does come down to one thing and that’s team wins. At the end of the day there’s only one thing that matters and that’s wins and losses. I do want to be an asset to my team and I think by scoring more goals and being more involved in the offense with more assist I think I’ll aid my team in winning at the end of the day.
*To see where the Cannons stand in MLL Analyst Evan Washburn’s list of top contenders for the Steinfeld Trophy, click here.