For the St. John’s lacrosse team, the upcoming season is not all about wins and losses. After winning just four games in the 2006 season, including an 0-7 record in what is widely regarded as the toughest conference in the nation, the Red Storm are out to earn respect through effort.
“It’s easy to sit back and say we need to win more games,” said first year coach Jason Miller. “I’d like to see the guys work harder every day. You always want your guys to work harder and can never be satisfied. The hope is if we focus on the little things it will have a good result in terms of wins and losses for us.”
Despite being one of the youngest teams in the conference, St. John’s comes into the season with ample experience, as many members of their young team have two years of experience in the tough ECAC conference.
“We’re young from the standpoint that we have only five seniors on a 37-man roster,” Miller said. “But a lot of guys have two years (in the ECAC) under their belts.”
While victories in the ECAC are few and far between, Miller said that there are seven teams with a legitimate chance to make the 16-team pool for the NCAA tournament, the struggles as a result of being a part of the conference can help make a team stronger.
“We get a constant reminder of what we need to do that the best teams do,” Miller said. “It helps us on the recruiting front because the good players will want to play in a competitive place that plays a competitive schedule.”
The Red Storm will combine the experience they’ve earned in past seasons with some changes in the lineup, which Miller believes will help make the team deeper. Returning junior star Tom Michaelsen looks to continue to lead the offense while drawing marks from top opposing defensemen, opening up the field for other players, including twin brother Trevor, who will join him up front this season.
“We’ve moved some people around to gain depth at every position,” Miller said. “Trevor is playing attack instead of midfield so we have some more scoring threats out there. We lose him at midfield but now we have five or six guys we can put out there to score.”
The result is a more open game for the Jonnies, which will allow for a faster pace and more shots. Additionally, the team has made a point of improving their ability to clear the ball out of the defensive zone, something that was an Achilles’ heel for them last season.
Mitchell believes that in spite of the program being in only its third year, one of the strongest points of the team is their deep roster.
“One of our key strengths is our depth,” he said. “We’re looking for everyone to step up.”
But regardless of the wins and losses at the season’s end, St. John’s is looking to make a name for themselves.
“Without a doubt our goal is to earn respect for the program,” Mitchell said. “All those little things that the good teams do is where our focus needs to be.”