Friday’s edition of The Sun included an article on the top defenseman for five of the six teams participating in Saturday’s Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Four of the five aforementioned have been named All Americans and one was arguably compiling an equally worthy season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury last year.
Lacrosse is a sport where goals are desired by fans and TV networks and players on the offensive side of the field throw no-look passes and shoot from behind their heads or between their legs.
But the five defensemen who contributed to Friday’s article were unanimous in their passion for their position, and each player offered up his opinion as to the best part about being a defenseman.
Johns Hopkins junior Tucker Durkin: “Going out there and frustrating attackmen. Working with a group of guys. We’re all pretty close. In the past, it’s sometimes felt like a one-on-one game, but this year – more than ever – we’re all working together. You’re out there with your friends and it’s a dogfight with your best friends. It’s pretty fun.”
Virginia redshirt senior Matt Lovejoy: “Every stat is geared towards the offense, but the best thing about being a defenseman is you get to line up against different guys who are their teams’ most talented players, and if I can lock them down, nobody really notices. If you don’t make mistakes and if you do your job, you don’t end up on any highlight reels and nobody talks about it. People only talk about defensemen when they’re making mistakes. I kind of like that. I play with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. You always have something to prove because this is an offensive player’s game.”
North Carolina senior Charlie McComas: “I would say getting to beat up on people instead of getting beat up. But I would say that one of the best parts about being a defenseman is it’s a very tight unit on that side of the field, and when you’re preventing goals instead of scoring them, you’re adapting to what the offense does. That requires being meticulous. You have to use your footwork and athletic ability, but you also have to be mentally focused and understand what’s going on.”
Cornell junior Jason Noble: “I think the best part about being a defenseman is the ability to change games. We might not get all of the credit, but when it comes back to it, you need a defense to help win games. When it’s a tight score, you need that last defensive stop to win games, and when you get that stop, the feeling of making it and giving the offense a chance to score a goal is the best part to me.”
Princeton senior Chad Wiedmaier: “Not getting slashed. Every time in practice when I end up getting slashed, I just think to myself, ‘What the hell was that?’ Then I realize that I’m doing that to others. … I feel like every time I end up clearing the ball, it’s that last-second whack that the attackman puts on my arm or my shoulder. You throw the ball to a teammate, and then you come back and think, ‘Wow, that really hurt. Is that what I’m doing to them all the time? How are they putting up with it?’”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun