Opening practice more solid than expected
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team got its 2012 season under way Monday and the team had a belated Christmas present for new head coach Guy Van Arsdale.
“Honestly, it wasn’t as sloppy as I thought it was going to be so that was a positive,” Van Arsdale, who was conducting his first practice with the team, said after the 8 a.m. workout at D. B. Milne Field.
There were other positives to go along with the crisper-than-expected work, including conditioning, according to Van Arsdale, who was named coach late last summer.
“Our guys obviously did a nice job over the break of working on their conditioning and came back pretty fit which is always one of your first worries because that will hold you back in terms of how hard you can go and what you want to work on,” he said.
He also noted the team has shown a propensity at retaining things the new coaching staff has dished out.
“We’re where we hoped we would be,” he said. “If that’s good enough, we’ll find out. There was a lot of energy, a lot of positive attitude, a lot of helping each other out so it’s all real good things.”
Sophomore attacker Kyle Rebman, who played in 13 games as a freshman in 2011, said he’s happy to get going.
“It’s good to get the pads back on for sure,” Rebman, from Baldwin, N.Y., said. “We haven’t had the pads on for a while and it’s good to get after each other a little bit. Everybody’s a little rusty but we’ll get back in to it.”
One of the team’s captains, Cam Mann, said he sees some changes with practice under Van Arsdale.
“It’s a little different, its’ a little longer,” Mann, who led the team in scoring with 37 points (18 goals, 19 assists) last year, said. “It’s a little more position centered, a little more technical. Last year we went up and down and kind of played our way; this year we’re focused more on the little things and I think that will be better for us.”
Mann spent the holidays with family in his hometown of Hamilton, Ont., Canada, and is happy to be back in warm weather.
“Coming from Canada the weather’s definitely a plus,” he said.
“It feels good to get the legs going again and start practice up. I tried to run a little (at home) but it was cold.” Monday’s practice was held in bright sunshine and a warming temperature that was to climb into the 70s by day’s end.
At the end of practice, Van Arsdale was looking ahead.
“Now it’s a matter of being able to accelerate quickly,” he said. “With our schedule being what it is and our scrimmages coming up in two and a half weeks (against Notre Dame in Orlando, Fla.) I think we really have to hit the ground running and our guys have done a really nice job.”
The team’s first regular season will begin Feb. 11 with a home game against Towson at 1 p.m.
Notes: Van Arsdale started practice by telling the team: “we’re not going to ease into this.” … the coach also laid out his keys to success: be a great ground ball team, a great defensive team and respect the ball with no wasted possessions … practice resumes Tuesday at 10 a.m.
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