FLN Sits Down with Florida Tech’s Andrew Conley and Coach Mac
This fall FLN is going to bring you interviews with some of our best “Home Grown” players and their coaches at Florida’s NCAA programs. This is the first installment of those interviews and features Florida Tech’s Andrew Conley, an Alumnus of Boone High School and Coach Ryan McAleavey. FLN – Andrew, how would you describe the fresh season Andrew – it was good. It was exciting to come into a first year program and see the makings of something new…something started from the beginning. It was difficult because we only had 20 guys but it was fun. We had a bunch of freshmen experiencing a new thing together with a new coach, a new program. All the school was excited about it and it was just a real good experience working with new coaches and new players from all around the country. FLN – how did you find the level of play you guys were up against? You went out there with an all freshmen roster. These guys were all playing high school ball the year before. Were you surprised at the speed? Andrew– Speed-wise I think we were there. I think it was more of the size, the experience level. Most of us didn’t have that experience and these guys we played against had experience. A lot of us were really undersized playing against 22 year old guys. FLN – What did you think of your own level of play? Did you exceed your expectations? You had a great season with 18 goals, a bunch of assists and even got a couple of quarters in the net! Coach Mac gets a good laugh out of this and swears he will never ever do that again. Andrew – It was different for me. I kind of felt like I could have done more, I wanted to do more. It was a lot different. Since we only had 20 guys I was drawing the long pole a bunch. It was different for me to be getting the long pole right off the bat in every game. I really had to change and adapt to that. The level of play was so much more difficult. FLN – How about year two. Have you set goals for yourself and some team goals? Andrew – Yes. I want to score at least 30 goals and 20 assists this season and do pretty well at the face off for my team. Team wise we are looking at winning a conference championship. There is no doubt in our minds that we can accomplish that goal. FLN – Do you have any particular games circled on your calendar? You had a hat trick in the Florida Southern game last year, does that make you want to get back out there against those guys? Andrew – We played Saint Leo our first game last year and it was a first game experience. But I think they will be surprised when they see us play this year. We will be a much better team. FLN – How are you adjusting academically to Florida Tech. I know it’s a tough school. Andrew – Freshmen year is always difficult for the average person and its tough here with the excellent academics at Florida Tech. This year is a change because I’ve got my time management down and it’s easier to keep up. FLN – Outside of hitting the books and playing lacrosse what are you doing with your time? Coach Mac – He’s hitting the wall! Andrew – Sometimes we go to the beach and get some surf time or get some fishing in there, but most of the time it’s hitting the cage, hitting the weights, running and keeping in shape. FLN – I know you have a couple of your Boone High School teammates here with you. Do you miss those days back at Boone? Andrew – High School lacrosse – I loved it. It was definitely a different competitive situation. Having some of my guys from high school is awesome and I love having them on my team. We have that camaraderie and completive experience together. It makes it fun. FLN – What is your late night cramming for a test food? Andrew – Old School Pizza! Coach Mac – It actually is really good pizza. Andrew – Yea, it’s a right in our little plaza and its good pizza. FLN – Coach, take us through the 2012 season and how it unfolded. You were out there with just 22 guys… Coach Mac – We played 19 freshmen and 2 juniors. So a first year program has its ups and downs alone. Then you through in 19 freshmen who are playing every game for you like Andrew said. Our biggest problem was not talent; it was the lack of depth and the physical maturity of our kids in comparison to the other kids. Take the situation against Mars Hill. We had 18 and 19 year olds playing against 24 and 25 year olds. It was like boys playing against men. But I do have to tell you that this group kept fighting, they wouldn’t back down from any team and there were times when they even surprised me with their tenacity out there. If we had some extra bodies out there it could have been a different situation. For example at St. Leo the score was 5-2 at the half but in the second half our legs just gave out. It’s tough to play lacrosse with no legs. FLN – Coach what are your goals for this coming spring? Coach Mac – Every year we want to strive to do the very best we can. We are going to build on that 2-12 season and we think this year we can do a lot better than that. This year I like our chances, I like our team, and I like the way these kids are working so we are really excited. With the addition of Coach King, he brings a whole other element to the program. I now have a defensive coordinator. I’m not doing it all by myself. FLN – Coach, you have a kid coming in from top ranked Chaminade, Connor McQuade. How is he looking so far? Coach Mac – He is looking very well. He is a year older than the other freshmen so he’s a little more mature. He has played in that Long Island Catholic league, so he has seen some good competition. We are hoping he can come in and make an impact, but so far he is looking very good. Andrew and Coach McAleavey could not have been more enjoyable to speak with. We really appreciate their time and wish them the best as they pursue the second season at Florida Tech Lacrosse. Since this interview was done they did host the “Battle at the Beach” where they finished the day 3-0 against Palm Beach Atlantic, UCF, and USF, showing some solid offensive firepower as they recorded 47 goals and 23 assists in those three games. Watch for upcoming installments including Brad Fretti, Dan Krispinski, and Coach Ward at Florida Southern, Coach Whipple and a trio of his Florida guys; Eric Dance, Cody Prizer, and Joey McMahan. Then we’ll have Coach Jorgensen and his top scorer, Matt Obermeyer. At Rollins we caught up with Coach Rossi and Will Diamond. Our last stop on the tour was in Jacksonville where we spoke with Coach Guy Van Arsdale and Tyler Black.