How is Summer Almost Over?

July 22, 2013 by

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

So this morning I got to thinking about how the Sidelines Blog hasn’t been updated in some time and I should at least give our followers something.  Granted it’s summer and the happenings around an athletic department become quite sparse during the latter half of May through the early part of August, but with the last post occurring on April 26, I figured why not?

As the summer continues to wind down way too quickly, I figured I would offer some perspective on what I will be looking forward to for the 2013-14 edition of Generals’ athletics.  So, without further ado:

10. The women’s swimming team is one win away from 200 all-time victories, claiming a 199-152 record across 28 seasons.  With a roster chocked full of impressive young talent, they should achieve that feat early as they attempt to qualify several swimmers for the NCAA National Championships.

9. With it’s first win of the 2013 season, the women’s soccer team will record its 300th win in program history.  The Generals are 299-128-33 across 26 seasons of play.

8. I’m very interested to see the continued development of the women’s golf program.  Last year was their first year as a varsity program and a lack of depth and youth showed.  They are still going to lack depth, but I believe that we’ll see great progress from the young women who return for their second year.

7. How will the men’s and women’s cross country programs both fare with new leadership.  The men’s program has its first new coach in 24 years after the phased retirement of John Tucker.  The women’s team also features a new interim coach after Kris Hoey’s departure following 10 seasons and seven ODAC titles.

6. How good will women’s lacrosse be?  The 2013 season should have been a rebuilding year and for much of the season, that’s what it was.  But, Head Coach Brooke O’Brien got them playing tremendous lacrosse by the end of the season and I’m interested to see how that carries over into the 2014 campaign.

5. Will senior outside hitter M.A. Boles break the W&L and ODAC records for career kills.  The three-time First Team All-ODAC selection has 1,299 kills over her first three seasons, just 220 kills from the school record and 357 kills away from the ODAC all-time mark.  The 2011 ODAC Player of the Year, Boles has averaged 433 kills per season over her first three years.

4. Seeing what the men’s soccer team can accomplish in 2013 after posting an 11-4-3 mark last fall.  The Generals return 80 percent of their goal-scoring, along with goalkeeper Albert Civitarese, who posted a 0.66 goals-against average.

3.  How will the W&L football team fare after the graduation of all-time greats like Brett Murray, Jake Pelton and Luke Heinsohn.  Who will carry the ball as the Generals try for their third ODAC title in four years.

2. How will men’s basketball perform without the services of graduated forward J.D. Ey.  An all-around asset, Ey is the only player in program history to total at least 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 200 assists, 150 blocks and 100 steals.  I’m also excited to see Ey continue his leadership role as a member of the coaching staff in 2013-14.

1. Can women’s tennis contend for the national title?  The Generals had the talent last spring under new Head Coach Erin Ness.  However, injuries took their toll on a still young roster.  Some rest and another year of experience should have them challenging the nation’s top programs once again.

Accepted Students Day

April 26, 2013 by

By: John Geissinger
Assistant Swimming Coach

With this blog entry I am going to focus in on the bittersweet nature of DIII athletics. This past week was Accepted Student Day and over 200 young men and women came to Washington and Lee to check out what we have to offer. It seems that most had already decided they were coming to W&L, they just wanted to show their parents what a great choice they had made! It was a beautiful day with great company.

During the lunch on Canaan Green a bizarre feeling overtook me. I was sitting next to two incoming students who are to become new members of the swim team in the fall. Across the table there was a senior who was talking to the group. All of a sudden I realized that this great individual was going to be gone! Dismiss the points scored at conference, at NCAA’s, and the incredible in-season performances. He is also just a great guy who I enjoyed having around the program. So while I am extremely excited to be welcoming in this new “crop” of W&L students I am sad to see the group of seniors go.

However, I truly believe that W&L prepares its students well for the expanding world post-graduation. The outgoing class has experienced all that W&L has to offer and is wiser from their experiences. I hope that the Accepted Students who go to speak to some of these seniors learned a lot from their words and strive to emulate the academic achievements that this class has accomplished.

GO GENERALS!!!!

Spring Football

April 23, 2013 by

By: Scott Abell
Head Football Coach

Spring Football began for the Generals last night, what a great feeling.  Though spring ball for us is much different than the higher division teams it doesn’t mean it’s any less important.  For the staff it’s the first glimpse at what the 2013 team could look like and for the players it’s a chance to get there football legs and a chance to win jobs.

In Division III we are restricted to using footballs only, no helmets, no pads and no contact, I know it does not seem like football but we can get a lot accomplished.  Our primary goal is to take a look at players in new roles and positions and to have the opportunity to get our first year players caught up.  As a first year player entering college football in August, you constantly feel behind so this becomes a crucial part of their growth.  We welcome all General Fans out to our workouts and look forward to seeing everyone in September.  I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all the W&L teams still competing for spring  conference championships good luck!

The end draws near

April 19, 2013 by

By: Brittani Sahm
Sports Information Assistant

As I’m sure many of you don’t already know, this will be my last season as the Sports Information Assistant at Washington and Lee. Beginning this fall, I will pursue my Master’s degree in Sport Management at the University of Florida. W&L has given me a lot more than just my first real-world job; I have made unforgettable memories and life-long friendships that will always stay with me.

With my last month right around the corner, I want to use this time to make a bucket list of all the things I need to do, people I need to see and places I need to go one last time before I leave Lexington for good.

10. Hiking – My good friend Suzanne, the assistant women’s soccer coach, brought me on my first-ever hike a little over a year ago. Little did she know, the trail was high on the difficulty scale. For an amateur like me, this was unexpected, but we powered through and since then I have loved the beautiful scenery we get from the top of the mountains.

9. Goshen – Every now and then, my friends and I like to have some down time by the river. Assistants in the past found a great little place for everyone to hang out on the rocks, go swimming and just enjoy the weather. One of Rockbridge County’s hidden gems.

8. Blue Sky – By far one of the best café/bakery places I’ve ever had the chance to eat at. I’m also not very picky and the homemade focaccia bread is AMAZING. I could probably eat a whole loaf by myself. I love my food, but I could not live without my sweets. Lucky for me, they give huge helpings of their desserts, including my favorite, carrot cake. Lunch there at least one more time is necessary.

7. Charlottesville shopping – Yeah, yeah, I probably should be saving my money for graduate school. C-ville is too hard to pass up though. On top of the great outdoor mall they have, there are plenty more food selections.

6. Kayaking – The first (and only) time I attempted to kayak was a mess. I had a blast, but I was a little overambitious and wound up hitting a tree and tipping over. I want to give it another try because I’ve heard it really is relaxing when the current isn’t so strong…

5. Camping – Real camping, in a tent with no showers or electricity. I’ve done it before, but not with all of my friends here. There are also a ton of places in Rockbridge County and we’ve all agreed it would be ridiculously fun, given the weather is nice.

4. Virginia Beach – I have lived in Virginia for 17 months now and I have yet to travel to the beach for fun. Yes, I’ve been other great places, but it’s the beach! You can’t beat the ocean. Why not plan a short visit to the beach since everyone outside of VA already assumes I live there.

3. Run on the Chessie Trail – This will happen a few times over the next month. The trail is flat and it is so peaceful away from cars and busy areas of town. I usually go for longer runs here because of the lack of hills. One of my favorite places in Lexington.

Veritas Winery is one of the most beautiful places in the Valley.

Veritas Winery is one of the most beautiful places in the Valley.

2. Wine tour – If I drove about 50 minutes northeast of Lexington, I could find dozens of wineries and breweries. I’ve been on a couple self-guided tours with my friends here and every time is a blast. The views are unbelievable and the atmosphere in most of the wineries is comfortable. Not too busy, with employees always willing to make your experience great. I want to go on one more tour with everyone to take advantage of it all.

1. Personally say goodbye to all those close to me – This one is important to me because I have met some really great people in my time here. Not just employees of W&L, but community members also. I truly believe it’s the people that make a place great and I could not agree more about Lexington. I will miss everyone, but I know it won’t be the last time I see or talk to those who mean a lot to me.

I’m sure there are plenty more things I could add to this before my time in Lexington has ended. I wouldn’t mind suggestions either! Officially 56 days until my last day on the job (I just counted, I have NOT been counting down the days). Here’s to ending it with a bang!

Bachelor Week

April 16, 2013 by

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

This week is spring break at Washington and Lee and as glorious as it is for almost everyone on a college campus, to a sports information director it only means that the environment is a little more quiet and we only need to produce half the number of programs we would for a normal game.  That doesn’t mean we don’t get to enjoy a little down time, it just occurs a week earlier during finals week.  During finals week at W&L, the athletic teams are restricted from practicing and playing games for a period of time and therefore, we sports information personnel get to enjoy a nine day respite with no athletic contests.

I chose to experience my “spring break” with my son Parker.  Our day care is understanding enough to allow us to forgo payment whenever Parker is out of their care for more than one week.  My wife’s spring break is one week before mine and so with us watching him ourselves for those two weeks, we are able to save over $300.  Not to mention it is good to spend that time with him since my schedule is pretty irregular during the school year.

Mindy and Parker travelled to Florida to spend their spring break with some family members from March 29 – April 6.  Though I knew I would miss them, I was sort of looking forward to experiencing a “bachelor week” on my own.  A little taste of my old life when I could just lounge on the couch, watch basketball uninterrupted, drink beer non-stop and eat unhealthy foods for dinner (which consisted mostly of frozen pizza).  The first two days, including Easter, I hung out at my in-laws with Mindy’s two brothers and their families so the bachelor week had really not yet begun.  It was good bonding time with her siblings and an enjoyable experience.  If you’ve ever met Mindy’s brother Stephen, you would instantly understand.

Bachelor week officially began on Sunday, March 31 as I plopped down on the couch and watched a pair of regional finals from the NCAA hoops tournament.  It was in a word — glorious.  No distractions whatsoever and I absorbed every single minute of the action (including watching Kevin Ware’s leg snap in two pieces).  The next morning I arose and didn’t make the bed, which was also quite satisfying.  My next task was to wear my favorite shirt named Old Blue.  When Mindy is around, Old Blue has been relegated to strictly a lounge shirt.  He’s not even allowed to be worn for golfing since golf is considered a “gentlemen’s sport” and therefore I need to look good when on the course.  Old Blue’s only problem is that he is a six-year old Under Armor polo that has a couple of small snags on the back.  I don’t see it as a problem, but some others do.  So during bachelor week, Old Blue made a triumphant return to my wardrobe – on the first day. J

A shot of the living/dining room after the cleaning had been completed.

A shot of the living/dining room after the cleaning had been completed.

By Tuesday my excitement had begun to wane and I couldn’t wait to Face Time with my family.  Wednesday involved a late night lax game against Bridgewater and the next thing I knew it was Thursday.  By then I was already hating myself for the terrible things I was eating and by Friday all I could think of was how their drive back was going and what time would they arrive.  Saturday morning I woke and decided to play some Tiger Woods Golf on my Playstation as a farewell to bachelor week.  I hadn’t played video games in like eight months and frankly I had forgot all about them until that morning.  It was good, but I started thinking about how I should probably make the bed since Mindy and Parker would be arriving later that afternoon and that was the longest continuous stretch in which it had not been made since we moved in together a little over three years ago.  A funny thing happened as soon as the bed was made – I started obsessing about other things.  Next up was the laundry, and then it was on to cleaning the kitchen, which turned into arranging the junk drawer, which turned into running errands, which turned into vacuuming the carpets and mopping the floors.  I finished with a thorough cleaning of the bathroom.  I was obsessed.  I can only explain it by saying that I was simply ready for human contact and I wanted everything to be perfect when my family arrived.  When I pulled in to my in-laws house to pick them up, Parker came running pointing both fingers at me and yelling da-da.  I had to fight back the tears – what can I say, I’m a family man now.  I will gladly give up the opportunity to do whatever I want and watch uninterrupted sports for what I have now (which was put to the test on Sunday when the Master’s was on all afternoon but I probably watched maybe a hour of solid coverage).

Feeding the ducks.

Feeding the geese.

Sunday marked the end of my spring break, which I spent watching Parker and catching up on lost time from his trip to Florida.  It’s amazing how much an 18-month old can change in one week.  From new words to new facial expressions, it was like he was a different kid.  We had a blast together, going to the park twice to play on the jungle gym and feed the geese.  We went to the doctor for his 18-month well visit, got his hair cut and went to a car appointment for me.  I may not have gone to some fabulous destination, but my spring break was as satisfying as any I’ve had.  I just hope our students can say the same about their break, even if their situation is a tad bit different.

Take me out to the ball game!

April 5, 2013 by

By: Alison Kapuska
Assistant Athletic Trainer

Twins game

Twins game

MLB opening day was this past week it gives me hope that summer is right around the corner. Although the snow storm yesterday sent me mixed signals. While everyone has his or her team I’m more of a baseball experience type of gal. No team some may ask? Yes I am from Minnesota and I do cheer for the Twins.  But I can’t wait for the ballpark atmosphere. To sit in the stands and take it the vendors walking up and down the aisles yelling out “cold beer, hot dogs” and the fans in a tizzy over balls and strikes.  Get me a concession stand and I can enjoy any game.  Which makes it difficult working W&L baseball when I get envious of the crowd who when its sunny and warm look to be having a great time.

The past two years I have gotten Twin’s tickets for my dad for father’s day. The first year I wasn’t able to go due to a rain out and rescheduling. But last year we had a grand old time. My dad is a White Sox fan so I try to get Twins vs. White Sox but due to conflicts we had to settle for the Brewers. I can honestly say I don’t know who won but it was a gorgeous day although really hot. Target field allows for way more baseball ambiance compared to the indoor Metrodome. I don’t know if I will be able to get to a Twins game this year but maybe i’ll try out a National’s game.

St. Cloud State in the Frozen Four!

St. Cloud State in the Frozen Four!

Sun, baseball, cold beverage, and some yummy concession foods sounds like a fabulous afternoon to me!

Quick side note…. My college ice hockey team St Cloud State has made it to the NCAA Frozen Four. First time in school history! St Cloud will be taking on Quinnipiac on April 11th at 8pm look for it on your TV get your sieve hand ready!

Exam Week is Upon Us

April 4, 2013 by

By: Nat St. Laurent
Assistant Men’s Lacrosse Coach

The Generals enter the exam week 10-2 overall and ranked 10th in Division III.

The Generals enter the exam week 10-2 overall and ranked 10th in Division III.

Feeling great heading into the most stressful time of the year!  During my time here at W&L I have learned many things, including how difficult and stressful exam week can be for our student-athletes.  In the locker room last night after our final game going into exams, one would not be able to detect the amount of stress our players are under or will be under very soon.  Instead the locker was full of smiles, high fives, laughs, and loud music.  I had to smile as I was taking in the scene because all I have heard about the past few days has been the fifteen page paper that is due, the exams coming up, or the presentations that have be done.  I guess being 10-2 and ranked #10 in the country helps relieve some stress this time of the year!

This morning as our players wake up, they very well may be smiling and walking tall.  However, they will surely be pushed to the max over the next week trying to finish up the winter term on a high note.  One of the many things I admire about the guys on our team and the student-athletes in general at W&L is their ability to work so diligently in the classroom and on the playing field.

While I am confident that the men in our lacrosse program are going to be very stressed and under a lot of pressure during exams, I am equally as confident that they will work extremely hard and do well.  This group as a lot of resolve and while they are feeling great heading into a very stressful time of the year, as they left the locker room last night, they were commenting about how they can’t wait to get back out on Wilson Field and play our next game in 10 days!

Marine Corps Intercollegiate

April 1, 2013 by

By: Mark Sowinski ’14
Men’s Golf

Junior Jack Cottrill on the simulator.

Junior Jack Cottrill on the simulator.

Last weekend after the first round of the Marine Corps Intercollegiate Golf Tournament at Camp Lejeune, my teammates and I had the opportunity to visit the indoor shooting simulator our Marines use for training. There are several simulators like the one we were at across the base, and in total they save the Marine Corps $16 million a month in ammunition. Like a cross between a golf simulator and Call of Duty, targets were projected onto screens for target practice and scenarios were run in which the enemy was attacking. The weapons included grenade launchers, 50caliber machine guns, M-16s, and pistols. They were perfect replicas; the recoil and sound were very similar to reality. The shooting competitions between teammates and competitors in the tournament were lots of fun.

Participating in the Marine Corps tournament and going on this excursion gave me a greater appreciation for our troops and the sacrifices they make. Each pairing of the tournament included a retired Marine and getting to talk with them was very interesting and revealing. The sacrifices our troops and their families go through on a regular basis are remarkable. Meeting a man who spoke about serving multiple tours of duty in Vietnam and how he has PTSD as a result was very moving. This tournament, more than any other, put life in perspective. This tournament reminded me how privileged we are to represent W&L athletically, especially when considering the sacrifices that have been made to secure our freedom.

Mad Max

March 26, 2013 by

By: Chip Whipple
Assistant Sports Information Director

Our puppy Max!

Our puppy Max!

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post on how my wife and I were considering adopting a dog. Well, about a month go we did just that. After searching online, we went down to the local SPCA and took a couple of the dogs out for walks. We made a couple of visits, and eventually were deciding between a pair of Rottweiler mix six-month-old pups.

We probably would have adopted both of them if we had the space, but in the end we decided one would be best for us right now. Originally named General by the SPCA, (maybe it was fate that we picked him since I work for Washington and Lee) we decided to name our dog Max.

It has definitely been an adjustment for everyone involved. I now get up every morning so that Max and I can go for a walk/jog at 6:30. The good part of that is I’m getting more exercise. The bad part is I’ve been falling asleep on the couch in the evenings like I’m a 65-year-old grandpa. Even though he was very hesitant with us at first, Max now understands he is part of the family.

Max spends his day in his crate (he gets let out for an hour at noon, when Lydia goes home on her lunch break), and also when we go to sleep as he is learning to be house trained. I also think if we left him to his own devices, both Lydia and I would lose a couple pairs of shoes to his chewing tendencies, but for the most part he sticks to chewing his rope and his snake (which is his favorite squeaker toy).

He still has a bit of obedience training to learn, as he gets a little frightened by strangers (nothing like a big dog who gets scared of pint-sized Brittani like when she came over last week to celebrate Lydia’s birthday).

We are excited for some of the things we will get to do with him once the weather gets a little better; like go on some hikes with him or see how he likes the river. Side note – when I moved down here from New Hampshire I was told it was supposed to be warmer, and was not expecting to get snow during the last week of March.

Although the 75-pound almost eight-month-old has been a handful, we couldn’t be happier with our choice. Here’s to years of enjoyment with our dog Max.

Double the Madness- A look at the Women’s Tournament

March 22, 2013 by

By: Christine Clancy
Head Women’s Basketball Coach

I am a basketball coach/basketball junky and it’s March, so it is hard for me to write about anything but the NCAA tournament…For most sports fans it’s all about the men’s tournament, but don’t forget that the women are in the midst of March Madness as well. From Thursday March 21st-Tuesday March 26th there will be 96 college basketball games. 96 games in 6 days! As I write this entry I have my laptop on one side and my ipad on the other each streaming a different game…

Lets take a look at the women’s tournament

Who will be the final 4 teams? Unfortunately, in the women’s game there is less parody then on the men’s side. The top 4 teams (Baylor, Notre Dame, UCONN, and Stanford) have been dominate this year, combining for a 123-8 record. Of their combined 8 losses, only 1 came at the hands of a team that is not a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. I will be very surprised if they are not the teams to make the trip to New Orleans.

Most likely to disappoint? Unfortunately, I think the answer might be Stanford, my favorite team of the big 4. The Cardinal are on a crash course with one of the two teams that beat them this year, California. Also in there bracket is a very dangerous #3 seed Penn State. Stanford’s star, Chiney Ogwumike, struggled in the Pac 12 conference championship going 1-9 from the field and only scoring 3 points, but their sophomore point guard, Amber Orrange came up big and carried them to a 2 point win. For the Cardinal to make it back to the final 4, they cannot afford another cold shooting night for Ogwumike.

Best potential match-up? Has to be a Notre Dame-UCONN semifinal. The two Big East teams have played 3 times- the 1st a 1 point decision, the 2nd a triple OT game, and the 3rd a 2 point game for the Big East Championship- Notre Dame has won all 3. A 4th match-up of this rivalry would surely not disappoint! Another potential match-up: UCONN v #6 Delaware could prove to be interesting. Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne (one of ESPN’s 3 player’s to watch) accepted a scholarship to play at UCONN but before she even stepped out on the Huskies court, got homesick and walked away. It seems fitting that they could match-up in her senior season…

Brittney Griner: Unbeatable? Probably.

Brittney Griner: Unbeatable? Probably.

Can anyone beat Baylor and Brittney Griner? I don’t think so… Not without Griner getting injured or into serious foul trouble. There has never been a more dominant player in women’s basketball than Brittney Griner. Obviously, a lot of her impact has to do with her height, but it is her athleticism, fundamental skill, and footwork that make her height such a big factor. Check out this ESPN Sports Science video about the impact she has on the game at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=6258228. If I was coaching a team to go up against Griner, I would look for any and every opportunity to run in transition and in the half court I would draw her out to the perimeter to defend ball screens- but I don’t know that there is a way to stop her on offense…

I will be going to New Orleans in 2 weeks for the women’s final 4 and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association National Convention. To be honest, I am hoping the four #1 seeds make it so that I can see them play in person. I love an underdog, but what I love most is a good, competitive game! Happy March (April) Madness!


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