When are we gonna get some more teams on the west side of the country, like San Diego?
Well that question got posted early and I'm about to post the response from both Dillon and Mark, but I just wanted to let everybody know that they're taking the time to chat with us DURING their trip from Denver out to Connecticut for this weekend's ESPNU Warrior Classic game against Fairfield. So fire away and we'll get as many of your questions answered as we can!
Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. California has been producing a great deal of D1 lacrosse athletes over the years. There is usually at least one California kid on each D1 roster. I think once big schools like USC, Berkley, and UCLA sanction D1 teams they are going to win over a great deal of recruits from their own backyard and back East. In my opinion, I think this will happen within the next couple of years and once it happens it will spread like a wild fire.
I honestly think lacrosse teams on the west coast like California are just around the corner. You can't ask for a better place to live and play than a place like San Diego. If places like that bring lacrosse into their programs and into DI schools, I think they'll put a scare into those east coast powerhouses.
How have you guys been able to turn things around after such a rough start to be where you're at now?
as a team we were obviously discouraged at the beginning of the season and im sure not many guys thought we would be where we are now but we all decided that we were going to step it up and not have a repeat of last season where we floated around the .500 mark all year. Coach T has been stressing timely possessions and taking the good shot instead of the first shot and the boys have really bought into a system and that system is obviously working for us right now.
We have been able to do a complete 180-degree turnaround. At the beginning of the season we were still trying to find chemistry on the playing field, including the pressure from the media to succeed was a burden. We had a gut check and ever since we entered conference play we have been able to improve on a daily basis. We know what we are capable of and we believe that we can compete with anyone.
Dillon, what's the best thing about playing under the Tierney boys? The worst?
Being able to play for the Tierney's is an absolutely incredible experience. They have a great wealth of knowledge on the game and it is contagious. The best part of playing for them is the tradition that they have created in the game of lacrosse. I can honestly say that the worst part of playing for coach T is the speechless stare that he gives me when I make a mistake on the field. I try to avoid those by playing well.
do you think Bryant will be a contender for the tournament next year?
As Division I programs get better athletes, the pool of contenders for the tournament will get bigger and bigger every year.
How do you guys deal with all the travel you have to do to play your schedules?
You kind of get used to travelling most weekends because it's something we have to do. It's also pretty cool to fly from state to state and have some good bonding time with the team in hotels and in airports. There's also a pretty big downside to traveling a lot. It takes a lot out of you. A lot of guys tend to sleep on the planes and on the floor of the airport to try to catch up on sleep they missed the night before.
At first the travel is exhausting, but we eventually adapt to the cross country thing. We have a lot of early mornings, so it is extremely important to treat your body right. Drinking plenty of water and eating right is big for staying game-ready. We typically have a fair amount of downtime in the hotels where we take advantage of getting much-needed rest
I hear you guys have a rigorous class schedule. How do you manage to juggle class, homework and playing a D 1 sport?
Time management is key to keeping it all together as a DI student-athlete. We also have a great support staff at DU that helps us along with any problems we might encounter.
My son is a ten year old goalie. What 2 or 3 keys should he be thinking about (other than having fun) as a goalie?
The best advice that I can give is to practice, practice, practice. It sounds like a cliche but the more you practice your skills the better you'll be at them. I would also recommend participating in as many camps/clinics that you can so that you get used to playing against all kinds of kids.
Whats your favorite part about Lacrosse?
Having fun with the team and being able to create live-long memories. The times we spend in the locker room are the most memorable.
I want to get my kid involved in lacrosse but know little to nothing about it. Other than putting a stick in his hand and signing him up in a league, what other options do I have?
My main advice would be to buy a bounce back and tell him to hit the wall. this is the most imprtant way of improving stick skills
I would also say to just try to play on as many club/rec teams as possible to get as much confidence with his stick skills as possible.
Do you think a best of 3 playoffs would be good for the sport of college lacrosse?
I have always felt that having a 1 game playoff never really accurately decided a winner. At home all playoff serious are best of 7 and that I feel gives you a true test as a team. Sure you can come up with a win but playoffs should not just be a one game and done series, it should be a war and that battle should carry on to see who that winner will and should be.
A 3 game playoff would be a great experience, but it is unrealistic considering the other demands of a student athlete. It would take away from school, but if school was not an issue I would be all for it. My favorite sport to watch is hockey, especially hockey playoffs. There is a huge rivalry factor that intensifies after each game.
Do you have any team rituals or superstitions?
I'm a huge fan of techno music, so before a game I tend to listen to a lot of that and party music. A lot of the guys joke around and make fun of me for it, but that's what I've done for a while now and I really can't stop. I also have one other thing - I tend to like to walk the field and throw the ball around in bare feet. This is something that travelled with me from home where I loved to walk the cement floor barefoot. Now playing on turf most of the time has added a little cushion to the barefooted walk.
Mark are you excited to play at INVESCO Field again or does it take the homefield advantage away since it isn't exactly your home turf?
For myself, never really playing in large venues and being pretty confined to a sweaty hockey arena all the time, playing at a place like Invesco is a great experience that not that many individuals get a chance to do. As for the home field advantage, Invesco is only a short 10-minute drive downtown, and we tend to have more local fans than student fans, so I would say the home field advantage is still prevalent.
For Dillon: Starting 1-3 and now winning 8 of your last 9, what was the turning point in the season?
Beating Stony Brook was a huge victory for us. That was the start of a long run of success.
What is a typical day like for a Student Athlete at the University of Denver?
The typical day for myself I'm sure is a little different from most, because everyone's practice schedule is so different. For myself a typical llday is waking up pretty much just in time for class, after class I usually have a break for an hour or so where I usually spend most of my time with a couple of other guys in the training room doing rehab with Josie. After some time in the training room, it's back to class again until practice. We practice every day at four and usually finish up around 6:30 or 7, and after that it's generally a quick stop at subway and off to study hall. I tend to get most of my work done there, so after that it's time to lay on the couch and watch some TV.
A bulk of my average day is taken up by class. In the afternoon we practice and watch film. After that I go to the training room, then get something to eat. Then I do homework and get some rest.
Dillon and Mark - What have you enjoyed most playing for Coach Tierney this season?
Playing for coach T has been an experience to say the least. I would have to say the things I enjoy most are the practices. Our practices are for the most part very high paced and he brings a ton of energy to the field. For myself we kind of figured out when to be serious and when to have some fun, and he does a great job in balancing that seriousness and joking attitude. Coach T really isn't afraid to lay into you with a good burst of yelling and I feel like this has not only made me a better player but a better person.
How important are face-offs as you come down the home stretch?
As an attackman, I am always hoping for a fast break to capitalize on and Chase has been doing a great job with that. D-Roy has done a phenomenal job at the X as well, he has been a vaccum on loose balls and has given the offense the opportunities to wear down defenses and put balls in the back of the net. This will be the key ingredient to us moving forward this season and hopefully getting a huge win this weekend against Fairfield.
For Mark: Being from Canada and growing up playing box lacrosse what were your biggest challenges transferring your game over to field lacrosse?
FOr myself, the biggest challenge was getting to know all the rules and know where and when I can cross certain lines. Fortunately, I have two great coaches who have helped me and some good buddies on the team that keep giving me pointers from time to time.
How has the ECAC competition been this year compared to last year when you played in the GWLL?
The conference is made up of mostly the same teams, with a few new teams added in (ED NOTE: The core of the GWLL merged with the remaining ECAC squads after the Big East shakeup to form the new ECAC). In general, I would say the conference is more competitive.
The ECAC competition has been great thus far. It really helped moving conferences from the old GWLL because we had experience playing them already. The ECAC has also given us the opportunity to play on the East Coast more and get some recognition as not just being some lacrosse team from Colorado. Hopefully it'll help us stay a contender in years to come.
Alright Denver fans, Mark and Dillon have to catch their connecting flight out to Connecticut, so they've got to wrap this one up - but thanks to everybody who submitted questions and be sure to follow along all weekend on InsideLacrosse.com and ESPNU for the best lacrosse action.