Lacrosse prepares for spring season

Norwich University’s men’s lacrosse team has started practicing in their 2015 fall season. The condensed fall season is an opportunity for the Cadets to prepare and evaluate for their spring season, according to the head coach. “These guys are really responding well, in terms of a team effort, I think there is a positive atmosphere,” said head coach Neal Anderson.

Norwich’s fall season consists of eight weeks of practice and is usually ended with matches between a number of local schools. The fall season is an excellent opportunity to introduce freshmen players to the team and see how they have developed their skills over the summer.
The fall season also allows the coaches to access the returning upperclassmen and evaluate their abilities to fill the open positions left by graduating seniors. Team captain Pete Soonthornprapuet, a 22-year old senior health sciences major from Pelham N.H., feels the fall season provides a great opportunity for team development.
“Every year you learn from mistakes, the good things, and you refine from there,” Soonthornprapuet said.
The fall season is essential to freshman in order for them to mature as players and refine their skill and experience playing at the college level.
“It’s definitely just a good time to get to know all the kids and just give them the opportunity to make mistakes as well, we’re not in any sort of competition,” said co-team captain Ryan Dart, a 22 year-old senior biology major from Greenfield, Minn.
It is clear from the coaching staff that the team only has a few weeks in the fall to begin this challenging process of building a team, so it’s important that the team finds this sense of unity, so they can understand what they are capable of accomplishing.
The lacrosse team, like the general population of the campus, is a mix of corps of cadets members and civilian students. According to coach Anderson, the composition of the team is “roughly 80 percent corps.” For the rooks, the competing interests on their time pose a significant challenge on their ability to practice.
As Anderson enters his eighth season at Norwich, he reflects on the program saying, “It took seven years” to build the program and “we’re still growing.” Anderson added, “Every single year, we have a team with more potential to do some very great things.”
The plan of action has been to “recruit and try to get more guys on campus that were interested in playing lacrosse,” Anderson said. Anderson recognized that there was a population of lacrosse players that had a serious interest in seeking a military education and his goal was to use his contacts in the lacrosse community to find those players.
The success of those efforts is evident in the roster of the 2015 team with players from throughout the country, including Arizona, Minnesota and Florida. Anderson also noted that things began to change with the team’s success, including a 2013 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship.
“Sound the horn, Norwich is invested in lacrosse,” Anderson said, “it’s been a process and I think my third year we really started seeing more student athletes find us.”
Assistant coach Nick Fischer feels that the team has a lot of talent this season, having a young but capable defense. Fischer also noted that the offense “has shown a lot of really good things.”
Fischer recognized a tremendous amount of work by the players in the offseason and is seeing the results of that work this fall.
There is a high level of dedication, commitment and positive energy to the team, what Anderson describes as “guys willing to do the little extras to make the team look good and perform well.”
Anderson sees the players putting in the extra effort, because they know their teammates will. “I’d love to be a player on this program,” Anderson said.

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